The Las Vegas 51s (26-22) got back in the win column Friday night with a quick and breezy 4-1 victory. Saturday night’s game got off to a very different start. Crooked numbers began appearing on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first and grew from there.
Dilson Herrera got things going with a lead-off double to left off of Memphis starter J.C. Sulbaran. Gavin Cecchini followed with a single moving Herrera to third. Then T.J. Rivera sent a line drive over the wall in left for a three-run homer. After a one-out error and two additional singles by Marc Krauss and Daniel Muno, the bases were loaded with aliens. Kyle Johnson drew a walk to plate another run. And starter Gabriel Ynoa went back to the mound in the second, the beneficiary of a 4-0 lead.
Ynoa pitched 6 solid innings giving up two runs, one earned, on five hits. He walked three and struck out five. In the meantime, the Vegas offense kept putting up those crooked numbers.
In the bottom of the second, Rivera collected his second hit, a single to left. Johnny Monell lifted a homer out to right center to add two more runs to the lead. In the fourth, Herrera doubled for the second time and Cecchini added a single, scoring Herrera. A Monell double drove in Cecchini. Then after a walk to Krauss, Johnson singled to drive in two more. In the bottom of the fifth, Herrera slapped a single to left for his third hit of the night. After a force out by Cecchini, back to back singles by Rivera and Monell again loaded the bases. Travis Taijeron then doubled in Cecchini and Rivera.
In the bottom of the sixth, Johnson led off with a walk and then Jeff Glenn came up to pinch hit for Ynoa whose work for the night was complete. Glenn had only had one other at bat all season, so he promptly collected his first hit, sending a two-run home run over the fence in left. With Ynoa out of the game, and a 12-run lead, all that remained was for the bullpen to pitch in with three effective innings.
Erik Goeddel was the first out of the pen in the seventh. With one out, Goeddel gave up a double and run scoring single. With two outs, three more Memphis batters reached and scored. Vegas was able to get two of those runs back in the bottom of the inning on a double by Krauss, a single by Muno and a double by Johnson. Jeff Walters started the eighth by issuing a walk, but got two outs before getting in some hot water. A homer, a single and a homer quickly brought Memphis four runs closer. Stolmy Pimentel was summoned to close out the inning.
The 51s added one final run in the bottom of the eighth after Herrera collected his third double of the night, his fourth hit altogether. Cecchini reached on an error, allowing Herrera to score.
Despite a 17-10 lead in the top of the ninth, the win was not at all a foregone conclusion. Pimentel started the inning, but could not retire any of the three batters he faced allowing another run to score. Josh Smoker allowed a double and a single which scored the last two of his inherited runners. After two strikeouts, another single plated the Redbirds’ 14th run of the game. But Smoker was able to strikeout the final batter to preserve the win for Ynoa and the 51s. The final score was a much less commanding 17-14.
Dilson Herrera went 4-6 with three doubles and thre runs scored. T.J. Rivera and Johnny Monell each went 3-6 with three RBI apiece. Rivera scored three runs and Monell two. Cecchini was 2-6 with an RBI and three runs scored. Kyle Johnson was 2-3 with four RBI, Travis Taijeron was 2-6 with two RBI. Gabriel Ynoa earned his 6th win of the season, giving up two runs, one earned, on five hits in 6 innings. He walked three, struck out five, and his ERA dipped to 2.40.
(photos by Jennifer Nieves)