Well, the Las Vegas Aviators might have landed in El Paso on Friday but they flew right past the Chihuahuas again Saturday, this time 11-2.
El Paso (63-43) lost the second consecutive game to their nearest competitor in the Pacific Coast League-Pacific Southern Division and the Aviators (61-45) are now just two games behind the Dogs with a little more than a month left in the season.
Las Vegas hitters were just dialed in to the Dogs pitching, bringing in 11 runs on 14 hits. El Paso starter Jerry Keel threw 112 pitches in 5 2/3 innings and gave up nine runs on nine hits, including three home runs.
The Dogs’ bullpen wasn’t too shabby, they gave up two runs in three-plus innings.
The Chihuahuas’ bats, on the other hand, were dormant. Slugger Josh Naylor (.324 BA) scored the first of their two runs in the 1st inning on a powerful RBI triple that split the diamond and squeaked through the Vegas outfielders to the center field wall, Aviators 2-1.
The Dogs’ last run came on a home run by catcher Webster Rivas (.286 BA) in the 7th inning that excited the crowd but barely concerned the Aviators as they cruised through to a win and a menacing two-game difference to reach the top spot in the division.
The winning pitcher was Parker Dunshee (6.12 ERA, 3-4) and the losing pitcher was Keel (7.85 ERA, 6-7). There was nothing to save for the Aviators as 9,159 fans sat at Southwest University Ballpark.
Next Game: Sunday, 6:05 pm at Southwest University Park. Las Vegas RHP Paul Blackburn (7-3, 4.88) vs. El Paso RHP Bryan Mitchell (0-2, 15.00). The game will air on 600 ESPN El Paso and www.epchihuahuas.com.
Las Vegas 11 El Paso 2 – Saturday | Box Score | Team Records: Las Vegas (61-45), El Paso (63-43)
WP: Dunshee (3-4) | LP: Keel (6-7) | S: None | Time: 3:14 | Attn: 9,159