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 Sacramento River Cats

Reetz Homers Twice While Walton Earns First Career Pitching Victory

April 2, 2024 - Pacific Coast League (PCL)
Sacramento River Cats News Release

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Tuesday's series opener between the Sacramento River Cats and the Reno Aces had a little bit of everything including scoring in eight innings, a pair of two-homer games, and even a position player earning the victory on the mound as Sacramento was able to hold on for a wild 9-8 victory in 12 innings.

The scoring was hot and heavy early on a beautiful day in Reno, Nev., and the River Cats (3-1) wasted little time as they dropped two runs in each of the second and third innings. A leadoff triple in the second from Brett Wisely put him just 90 feet away from scoring the game's first run, which he did mere moments later on a wild pitch from Aces (2-1) starter Blake Walston. Two batters later, Jakson Reetz crushed his first dinger of the season that traveled an eye-popping 456 feet over the scoreboard in left center to make it 2-0.

While the Aces got one back on a Jose Herrera single to left in the home half of the second, Heliot Ramos started the third with a bang by crushing his second homer in as many games with a deep blast to left center. A bases loaded walk later in the inning pushed the score to 4-1. For Ramos, he is the first River Cat to homer in consecutive games in 2024.

That lead was not meant to last when Kyle Garlick stepped to the plate for Reno, as he grooved a 3-2 pitch over the wall in right field for a three-run homer that instantly tied the game with just one out in the third. Reno then took the lead with a run in each the fourth and fifth, as Tim Tawa doubled and scored the go-ahead run followed by the second Garlick homer of the afternoon on an 0-2 pitch to lead off the home half of the fourth.

Sacramento's offense went dormant until the eighth, coming to life when Reetz matched Garlick with his second home run of the day, this a ball that just cleared the wall in left center and tied the score once more at 6-6. In 2023 there were 10 River Cats who had two-homer games, which included a pair from Jakson Reetz. He was also the last to do it in 2023, coming on July 30 at Albuquerque.

From that point forward it seemed as if there might not be a winner in the game, as each time the River Cats would jump in front, Reno was there to answer. In the ninth, singles from Casey Schmitt and Chase Pinder set the table for a Wisely double down the left-field line, though it scored only Schmitt on the play.

Through eight innings River Cats pitchers had not issued a walk, but that changed in the ninth as they walked the bases loaded while the second of two balks in the frame ended up forcing home the tying run.

Back at it in the 10th, David Villar came through in the clutch when he sent a ball through the hole at second base which scored Ismael Munguia, who began the frame on second as the free runner.

Entering to pitch was right-hander Cody Stashak, who was able to get two relatively quick outs with runners at the corners, the second of which was a comeback-liner that would have connected with Stashak had he not displayed incredible reflexes to get his glove up for the second out. Despite that play, he would walk in the tying run that forced game into the 11th, which was the only of the three extra innings to not feature any scoring.

Part of the reason for no scoring in the 11th was infielder Donovan Walton (1-0), who entered for his first minor league pitching appearance in his career (one major league pitching appearance for San Francisco on June 3, 2022 at Miami) as Sacramento tried not to burn their bullpen arms in the first game of the series. Walton was effective, as he earned a trio of fly balls that left the free runner stranded on base.

Stepping to the plate and proving to be the hero once again was Reetz, though this time all he needed was a double down the left-field line to easily score Trenton Brooks as the free runner and give Sacramento the 9-8 advantage.

Out for the bottom of the 12th again was Walton, putting the cap on Sacramento's first 12-inning game since they also went 12 innings against Sugar Land on April 8, 2022 in a 7-6 victory. However, Walton needed some help as there were not one, but two outfield assists on plays at the plate that prevented the tying run from scoring.

First, a Herrera single with only one out looked as if it could score free runner Tristin English from second base, but his hesitation while rounding third provided just enough time for Reetz to collect the relay throw that was started by Pinder and dive back across home plate to tag out English. In the very next at-bat, Tawa sent a double into the left-center gap that seemed as if it also might tie the game. However, Munguia was able to get to it quickly and connected on a relay with Marco Luciano that had the ball to the plate with feet to spare, ultimately sealing the 9-8 win for the River Cats.

Those final two plays earned Walton his first pitching victory of his professional career, though it would not have been possible without three combined scoreless innings from Randy Rodriguez (one inning with one strikeout) and Juan Sanchez (two innings with three strikeouts), as neither allowed a base runner.

Charged with the loss for Reno was Chris Rodriguez (0-1), who was able to stay clean in the 11th but gave up the one unearned run in the top of the 12th.

At the dish, every River Cat to have an official at-bat reached base, and they were led by the 3-for-4 effort from Wisely who also scored once, tallied two doubles and a triple, and drove in a pair. He would not be outshined by Reetz, who clobbered two dingers in a 3-for-5 day to go with four RBI and a double. Also picking up multi-hit games was the pair of Luciano (2-for-5, run scored, two walks) and Villar (2-for-6, double, RBI).

Each of the first four games of the 2024 season have been decided by one run, which had not happened in a single season for Sacramento since 2017 when each contest from July 24-27 was separated by just one tally. That happened twice in 2017, with the first such instance occurring from May 6-9. Dating back to the final two games of 2023, each of the past six River Cats contests have been one-run games.

Just two minutes shy of the four-hour mark was when the game came to a close, the longest game time for the River Cats since they went four hours and 34 minutes against Sugar Land in that 12-inning marathon on April 8, 2022.

Both teams will be back in action with another afternoon matinee on Wednesday, with first pitch at 2:05 p.m. from Greater Nevada Field.

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