Thursday, July 18, 2013

Reno Hosts its First Triple-A All-Star Game

Photo: Matthew B. Brown
As the days become longer and hotter, it is evident that summer in Reno is in full swing. Summer means baseball, and Aces Ballpark in Reno hosted a spectacular display Wednesday during the Dolan Auto Group Triple-A All-Star Game. An Aces Ballpark record crowd of 10,135 fans gathered to watch the best Triple-A players.

Editor Matthew B. Brown and I were fortunate enough to attend the game, enjoying some much-needed ballpark food, sunshine, and, of course, baseball. The familiar organ music and the concession men shouting, "Get your popcorn here!" set the stage for a great evening at Aces Ballpark.

The highlights, according to the Reno Aces' communications department, are as follows:

The International League defeated the Pacific Coast League by a score of 4-3.

Catcher Tony Sanchez of the Indianapolis Indians hit a three-run home run to right field off PCL starter Jarred Cosart of the Oklahoma City RedHawks in the second inning, giving the IL a 4-2 lead. Sanchez finished 1-for-3 with three RBIs and was named the IL Top Star for his game-deciding home run. 

Michael Wacha of the Memphis Redbirds was named Top Star for the Pacific Coast League after pitching one-and-two-thirds innings without allowing a base runner. 

International League starter Greg Reynolds of the Louisville Bats tossed one inning giving up two runs off three hits and earned the win. Cosart received the loss and was replaced after allowing four runs over one-and-two-thirds innings. 

Photo: Matthew B. Brown
Louisville’s Billy Hamilton led off the game with an infield single and followed that up by stealing second. Back-to-back ground outs advanced Hamilton to third and eventually home to give the IL an early 1-0 lead. 

The PCL answered back in the bottom half of the first as Albuquerque’s Nick Buss and Reno’s Chris Owings hit back-to-back singles to lead off the inning. Buss quickly scored off another single from Brett Pill of the Fresno Grizzlies. Owings advanced to third and would score on an RBI ground out off the bat of Brock Peterson of Memphis, giving the PCL a brief 2-1 lead. Peterson finished 1-for-2 with an RBI.

Sanchez’ blast in the top of the second inning was the first home run hit in in a Triple-A All-Star Game since Russ Canzler launched one in 2011. The PCL would score another run in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI ground out by Fresno catcher Johnny Monell, but the IL relief pitchers closed the door, only allowing just one hit after the fourth inning.

Chris Bootcheck of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders contributed two shutout innings allowing only one hit. Earning the save was Columbus Clippers closer Preston Guilmet after he came in with two outs in the ninth to get Aces catcher Tuffy Gosewisch to ground out to end the game. 

Matt Davidson, the IGT Home Run Derby champ and Reno Aces third baseman, finished 0-for-2 and failed to reach base.

The International League’s victory gives them a 9-7 advantage over the Pacific Coast League in Triple-A All-Star Games since the format switched from AL vs. NL 16 years ago. The win also secures home-field advantage for IL’s representing team in the Gildan Triple-A National Championship to be held on Tuesday, September 17th at Coca-Cola Park, home of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.