RENO, Nev.—Joshua Whitesell blasted two home runs—including a grand slam—but the effort fell short as the Salt Lake Bees evened the series with a 9-6 win over the Reno Aces Saturday night in front of the second-straight sold out crowd at Aces Ballpark.
Whitesell hit a two-run shot in the first that gave Reno an early lead, then smashed a grand slam to right in the 7th that turned a seven-run deficit into a three-run margin at 9-6. That would be as close as the Aces would get, though. Whitesell finished 3-for-5 with two runs scored and six RBI. Two other Aces, Trent Oeltjen and John Hester, each chipped in two hits apiece.
Reno starter Cesar Valdez (1-1) was pinned with the loss. The right-hander allowed six runs on six hits in three innings of work. Valdez walked one and struck out three. Abe Woody allowed three runs—two earned—in 2.1 frames in relief, before Jon Coutlangus and Billy Buckner combined for 3.2 shutout frames.
The win went to Salt Lake starter Dan Denham (1-0), who allowed two runs on seven hits over six innings. After Jailen Peguero allowed Whitesell's grand slam, Eddie McKiernan, and Jeremy Hill shut out the Aces over the final three frames.
After Whitesell's two-run shot in the first, Salt Lake fired back with two in the second and four in the third. The Bees then posted three more in the sixth inning to take a 9-2 lead. Whitesell's seventh-inning slam pulled Reno to within three, but the offense stalled there.
Four Bees collected two hits on the night. Brandon Wood and Bradley Coon drove in two runs apiece.
The Aces and Bees hit the third-leg of the series on Sunday afternoon. Starting for the Aces will be Tom Gordon (0-0, No ERA), pitching on a major league rehabilitation assignment. The Bees will counter with Brad Knox (1-0, 4.26). First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m.
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