"The simple comment to the guys at the beginning of the series is, 'here's the deal. If we catch the ball, if we throw the ball and we hit the ball and pitch the ball the way we're supposed to, we'll be in every game that we play,'" Aces manager Brett Butler said.
The Aces (16-25) kicked off a scoring spree in the first inning. After only allowing three batters in the top of one, Reno scored three in the bottom of the frame. Brandon Watson led off with a walk and advanced on a Rusty Ryal single.
Alex Romero reached on a fielder's choice, but Ryal headed back to the dugout, put out at second. Watson scored on a Josh Whitesell single and advanced to third on an error. Romero scored on a Luke Carlin groundout for a 2-0 lead. With two outs and one on, Trent Oeltjen hit a shot to center for a triple and an RBI, allowing Whitesell to score.
Michael Ryan scored a lone run for New Orleans in the second inning with a home run to right field. In the top of the fourth, John Lindsey tripled and scored on a Matt Craig single to pull to a 3-2 score.
Starting the top of the sixth, the game was delayed due to lightning with a score of 3-2. The game was delayed for one hour and 25 minutes due to rain and lightning and the tarp had to be put out on the field, the first time in Reno Aces history.
Seth Etherton recorded the win for the Aces, his fourth win on the season. He pitched five innings, allowing three hits, two earned runs and hit one batter. He had three strikeouts. He was taken out due to the rain delay.
"I thought he commanded his fastball really well," Reno catcher Luke Carlin said. "He came through and got on the mound and did his job."
After a fairly quiet sixth inning, the Aces stepped up in the seventh. Ryal and Whitesell earned walks against Mike Wood. Carlin singled to send in Ryal for a 4-2 lead. Relief pitcher Travis Blackley hit a short hopper off Jay Buente to advance the runners, Whitesell and Carlin, to third and second respectively.
With two outs, Ruben Gotay doubled to drive both runs in for a 6-2 lead. Next, Abraham Nunez singled, plating Gotay for the 7-2 advantage heading into the eighth.
The Aces seemed to have the game in the bag, and then the ninth inning showed up and the Zephyrs (15-26) put the heat on Reno scoring four in the inning.
Billy Spottiswood started the inning on the mound for Reno and quickly allowed three hits and a run early in the ninth. Manny Mayorson led off with a single, advanced on a Brett Carroll single, and scored on a John Lindsey single for a 7-3 score.
"At no point were we panicking by any means," Carlin said. "Our pitchers are usually pretty good at that."
Bobby Korckey stepped onto the mound for Reno and forced Craig to pop out to left field. Ryan hit his second homer of the night, this time a three run shot to right field, to pull to 7-6. The Aces maintained their toughness and made two difficult plays to finish off the Zephyrs.
Korecky slid off the mound to stop a rolling Dave Matranga grounder and tossed it to Bryan Byrne at first base for the second out of the inning. Korecky hit New Orleans catcher Brad Davis with an 0-2 count before Davis shelled one out to right field. Alex Romero made the grab over the third baseline fence for the 7-6 final.
"The last three plays were all great plays," Butler said. "Korecky, to see a pitcher get off the mound as quick as that for the second...Romero finishes it with the one up on the wall. In a situation like that, Korecky was sent to the big leagues and turned around. He got back late and hadn't thrown in three days."
Reno and the Zephyrs battle it out again today at 6:05 p.m.