Former Zephyr Kyle Jensen hit an RBI single in the top of the ninth, touching off a four-run Reno inning, and the Aces snapped New Orleans’ four-game winning streak in winning the series opener Monday at Zephyr Field.
“Late in the game like that, it was huge to come through for the team, especially after a long trip (from Omaha),” said Jensen, who went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and a run. “We flew in and went straight from the airport to the ballpark. I’m just glad the game didn’t go into extra innings. It feels good to be back.”
Trailing 1-0, the Zephyrs had taken a 2-1 lead in the seventh. Destin Hood walked leading off and scored on catcher Tomas Telis’ double off the left-field wall. One-out later, left fielder Isaac Galloway singled in Telis.
Jensen then tied the score in the eighth. Left fielder Peter O’Brien led off with a triple off the left-field wall, and Jensen followed with a single between third base and shortstop.
Locked in a duel with the Aces’ Braden Shipley, Zephyrs left-hander Chris Reed shut out Reno on two hits for six innings, striking out nine. However, the Aces got to reliever Andre Rienzo for a run when shortstop Jack Reinheimer led off with a double and scored on a one-out sacrifice fly by center fielder Todd Glasemann.
Aces left Peter O’Brien came into the series hitting .309 and second in the Pacific Coast League with 12 home runs and fourth with 31 RBIs.
A second-round draft pick of the New York Yankees in 2012, Reno’s parent club, the Arizona Diamondbacks traded Martin Prado to obtain O’Brien, a good hitter whom they felt was their catcher of the future.
He had a good spring training at the plate in 2015, hitting .375. However, he also showed he could not be a major league catcher. His inability to throw prompted a move to left field, where a strong arm is not a priority.
With Reno, he has been working on becoming adequate in the field. Along with his lack of a throwing arm, he is not a fast runner and is also being tried at first base. However, he’s 25, and it remains to be seen how patient the Diamondbacks will be with him in his development.
A trade to an American League team, where he can be a designated hitter, might be good for him. However, to get such as job, he has to be more proven as a hitter.
He came into the series third in the league in strikeouts with 49.
The Zephyrs headed into the series on a four-game winning streak after completing their first sweep of the season at Albuquerque. The Z’s had lost seven in a row, including four at El Paso to start the road trip. … The four games against Reno are part of an eight-game home stand vs. Pacific North teams. New Orleans will play host to the Tacoma Rainiers on May27-30. Reno came into this series in second place 7.5 games behind division leader Tacoma. … The series started a stretch of 16 of 20 games at home for the Zephyrs, who came off a stretch in which it they played 20 of 28 games on the road. … Reno third baseman Ed Lucas and 1B Kyle Jensen are former Zephyrs players. Lucas was called up by the Marlins in 2013 and made his Major League debut at age 31. He played 94 games with Miami that season (.256 ) and 69 in 2014 (.251). Jensen hit .233 with 12 homers and 36 RBIs with New Orleans in 2013 but followed that by batting .260 with a team-leading 27 homes and 92 RBIs.