The Reno Aces got early offense and starter Andrew Chafin dominated the Las Vegas 51s, throwing a complete game shutout to lead the Aces to a 6-0 win Thursday night at Cashman Field. The win evened the best-of-five series at one game each.
The left-hander allowed only four hits and did not walk a batter. He threw 99 pitches and struck out five Las Vegas batters. It's the first complete game shutout in Aces postseason history. It is only the second time Reno has shut out an opponent in the postseason (9/14/12 at Omaha).
Chafin was the benefactor of a five-run first inning, highlighted by a grand slam by Mike Jacobs. Nick Ahmed started the game with a base-hit to left-field and advanced to second on a throwing error by left-fielder Cesar Puello. Roger Kieschnick and Andy Marte followed with walks to load the bases for Jacobs. He hit the first pitch from Las Vegas starter Matthew Bowman out to left-center for the first grand slam in Aces postseason history.
The offense didn't stop there as Danny Dorn followed the Jacobs grand slam with a bloop double to left. Two batters later, Mike Freeman made it a 5-0 game with a run-scoring single to left-center.
It remained 5-0 until the top of the fourth inning when Ahmed laced a solo home run to left-center. Ahmed finished the night 3-for-5 with a pair of runs scored and a run driven in.
Chafin allowed singles in the second, sixth, eighth and ninth innings. After each of the first three base hits, the southpaw got a groundball double play to end any possible threat.
He faced his biggest challenge in the bottom of the ninth inning with Reno leading 6-0. Anthony Seratelli led off the frame with a single to center-field. Chafin then hit pinch-hitter Allan Dykstra to put runners at first and second with nobody out.
He retired Cesar Puello on a fielder's choice, leaving runners at first and third. Chafin then struck out Matt Reynolds for the second out in the inning, and followed suit by striking out Andrew Brown to end the game.
The Pacific Conference Championship Series shifts to Reno for the remaining games, starting with game three Friday night. Right-hander Bradin Hagens (1-1, 2.55) starts for the Aces against right-hander Noah Syndergaard (9-7, 4.60) for the 51s. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.