Menez strikes out career-high 12 as River Cats sneak past Aviators
Las Vegas, Nevada - The Sacramento River Cats (37-36) pitching staff put on a display against the Las Vegas Aviators (41-33), piling up a season-high 21 strikeouts in a wild 12-7 extra-inning win. Starter Conner Menez was brilliant, setting a career-high with 12 strikeouts himself.
It was a statement game for Menez on Friday as the 24-year old worked a brilliant 5.1 innings, striking out a career-high 12 Las Vegas hitters and holding the high-powered Aviator offense to just one run. The left-hander's previous best strikeout total of 11 came on August 19, 2018 while with the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels. Menez was relieved in the sixth by fellow lefty Steven Okert after throwing 96 pitches (66 strikes).
As in Thursday night's ballgame, the River Cats scored early and often, building a five-run lead through three innings thanks in part to a trio of third-inning home runs from Austin Slater, Zach Green, and Aramis Garcia. Slater had a massive night at the plate, going 4-for-4 with a home run, two doubles, two walks, two runs scored and four RBI.
However, the River Cats bullpen would falter late again, losing the lead late after a four-run Aviators ninth left the game tied at six apiece. But Sacramento did not roll over, scoring six runs in the 10th inning and holding on for a dramatic 12-7 victory.
The River Cats continue their series with the Aviators tomorrow night behind left-hander Andrew Suarez (3-5, 5.29), who is looking to continue his recent run of success and pick up his fourth win of the year. The Aviators are expected to go with Athletics' top prospect left-hander Jesus Luzardo (0-0, No ERA) in what would be his first Triple-A start of 2019. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. (PT). Catch all of the action live online at rivercats.com, on the MiLB First Pitch app, on Money 105.5 FM, or on CW31 throughout the Sacramento region.
- The River Cats have continued to hunt the first pitch, with Austin Slater and Zach Green each homering on the very first pitches they saw in the third inning. Sacramento has now hit 32 first pitch home runs this season, four more than the next team in the Pacific Coast League (Round Rock, 28).
- Conner Menez struck out a career-high 12 batters, but the bullpen pitched in as well, adding nine punchouts of their own for a River Cats season-high 21 total strikeouts. Sacramento pitchers' previous high was 17, which came on June 15 against the Iowa Cubs.
The Sacramento River Cats are the Triple-A affiliate of the three-time World Champion -San Francisco Giants. The team plays at Raley Field in West Sacramento, consistently voted one of the top ballparks in America. Season Tickets, Mini-Plans, and Flex Plans can be purchased for the River Cats' 20th season by calling the River Cats Ticket Hotline at (916) 371-HITS (4487). The only place to guarantee official River Cats tickets is at www.rivercats.com. For information on other events at Raley Field, visit www.raleyfield.com.
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