While Reno had already clinched its fifth winning homestand in its last six, the Aces did not want to end the latest with a couple losses, especially after being held to one run on five hits Monday night.
With a six-run second inning, clearly there was not going to be a repeat non-performance for Reno in front of a crowd of 5,396 at Aces Ballpark.
However, its second straight loss was the more disheartening of the two after the Sky Sox rallied for four runs in the ninth to pull out the win.
Leadoff man Eric Young Jr. cranked a two-run triple to deep center field tying the score at 10-10 with one out in the ninth.
A high chopper with the infield drawn in was good enough for Young Jr. to slide into home safely with the go-ahead tally.
Matt Murton hit a frozen rope to center field, knocking in the final run.
The Aces broke a franchise record, walking 11 Colorado Springs batters and relinquishing a lead that grew to as much as five runs. Unfortunately for the Aces fans who stayed for the four-plus hours of baseball, they got to watch the Sky Sox walk nine hitters and commit four errors, only to realize it wasn’t good enough.
Heading into the bottom of the sixth tied at 8-8, the Sky Sox gave the lead back to Aces. John Hester opened the inning with a walk and made it to third when catcher Edwin Bellorin could not locate a wild pitch that went to the backstop.
Scott Munter walked Chris Roberson, ending his relief stint.
On Randy Flores’ first pitch of the game to pinch hitter Luke Carlin, Hester broke the tie on another wild pitch. Roberson went to second and then scooted over to third on an errant pickoff throw.
With his attention back to Carlin, Flores served up an RBI single for an insurance run and 10-8 advantage.
Reno’s bullpen held Colorado Springs in check for four innings until Scott Dohmann could not close the door on the bottom third of the batting order to record the save in the ninth.
Reno starter Travis Blackley got in trouble from the get-go and received a 1-on-1 consultation from manager Brett Butler just two batters into the game. From that point, Blackley loaded the bases and served up a sacrifice fly and a broken bat RBI single to Christian Colonel, digging himself a 2-0 hole.
Luckily for Blackley, when the Aces’ offense shows up, it’s usually in a big way. Reno came back in the bottom half of the first to cut the deficit in half thanks to a Brandon Allen RBI run-scoring shot up the middle.
Reno tied it up at 2-2 the next inning when Brandon Watson ripped a sinking liner to left field that Matt Miller couldn’t make the play on, allowing Cole Gillespie to score from second and Blackley to move to third on the double.
Ed Rogers kept the momentum going and gave the home team its first lead of the game by singling in Blackley.
A pitch in the dirt led to some fireworks. Watson blazed home on the wild pitch for a 4-2 edge. Rogers moved up to second base on the play before Allen drew a one-out base on balls.
An error by shortstop Jonathan Herrera loaded them up for Ruben Gotay, who delivered with a seeing-eye single that found the hole between second and first, plating a pair of runs.
Gillespie, who led off the bottom of the second with a walk, capped the six-run rally and pushed the gap to 7-2 with an RBI line drive single to center field. Only two of the runs were earned.
The AAA-affiliate of the Rockies was not about to leave town without putting up a fight. After Murton singled to right to lead off the third, Dan Ortmeier crushed a two-run shot to center field, making it a 7-4 game.
Watson, Reno’s speedy right fielder, took advantage of some defensive positioning. Watson went opposite field with a fly ball to left field, but it was deep enough to get over Miller’s head, who was playing shallow. Watson sprinted out of the box and ended up with a triple, allowing him to come home on Rogers’ sacrifice fly to center field.
Blackley could not take advantage of the 8-4 lead and did not factor into the decision after being pulled in favor of Jason Urquidez prior to the top of the fourth frame. Blackley threw 82 pitches in just three innings of work. Five walks helped lead to the high pitch count and four earned runs.
Colorado Springs chipped away some more against Urquidez. Mike McCoy started the inning off with a walk and eventually scored on an infield groundout. Ortmeier’s second hit and fourth RBI of the game made it a two-run cushion, 8-6.
With two outs in the fourth, Herrera batted a ball back through the box, ending the three-run rally with the scoreboard reading 8-7.
A fourth unanswered run in the fifth, knotted the game at 8-8 and it was a whole new ballgame.
Reno (58-53) will try to improve on its 26-29 road record when it travels to Iowa today for a 5:05 p.m. PT clash.