SALT LAKE CITY — Since clinching the Pacific Northern Division title Thursday night, the Salt Lake Bees (78-65) have hit a little bit of a slump. They dropped three games in a row to the Reno Aces (59-84), including a 10-7 loss Sunday afternoon.
The Bees got up on the board first in the bottom of the first inning when designated hitter Tommy Field smacked a single to bring home Matt Long and put the home team on top 1-0.
Salt Lake and starting pitcher Billy Buckner (L, 7-4) had a rough inning in the top of the second, however, as they gave up a staggering six runs and the lead. Juan Rivera's single got things going for the Aces, and after Brad Snyder and Ed Easley reached on an error and a walk, Alredo Marte scored two runs on a single to left field.
Third baseman Taylor Harbin kept the rally going for Reno with a single, which Tyler Bortnick followed with a fielder's choice RBI. Chris Owings then ripped a deep double to bring home two more runs. After another walk, Matt Davidson put another run on the board with a single, making the score 6-1 and ending Buckner's night on the mound.
Barry Enright strolled out to the mound and managed to get the Bees out of the jam, but not before the damage had been done.
In the home half of the second, the home team fought back to pull within one run of the Aces. Third baseman Andy Marte started things off with a single to left, which Roberto Lopez followed with a walk to put some ducks on the pond. The next two batters were retired, but Chance Ross stepped to the plate and calmly belted a two-out double to score both runners.
Ross was outstanding in the batter's box, going 2 for 4 with a double, a triple and four RBIs to lead the home team.
"It was good for the kid to come out and have some success offensively. He's been put in a tough situation coming up to Triple-A out of A-ball, but he's done a good job for us out there," said Bees manager Keith Johnson.
Drew Heid and Matt Long kept Salt Lake's rally going by drilling a single and a triple, but the rally eventually came up short as the Bees couldn't seem to quiet the Aces' bats.
Reno got back on the board in the fourth and fifth innings when Mike Jacobs hit a sacrifice fly (fourth) and Alfredo Marte lofted a pitch from Enright over the left-field wall (fifth) to give the visiting team a 10-5 lead.
Ross once again helped the Bees answer in the sixth after Luis Rodriguez and Luke Carlin reached on a walk and a single. Ross stepped up and roped a triple to left-center field to switch places with Rodriguez and score both runners, making the score 10-7.
Both teams struggled to get much going the rest of the way, and the game ended with the Aces taking their third-straight victory over the Bees.
"We're getting ready for the playoffs. The regular season is what it is. We clinched. Now it's just a matter of getting some at-bats for some guys who may not be swinging the bat so good and trying to get them to a good place," Johnson added.
The two teams will square off again at 1:05 p.m. Monday afternoon at Spring Mobile Ballpark, where the Bees will look to avoid a sweep.
Ryan Love was born and raised in Holladay, Utah and is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying communications. Ryan became a part-time sports reporter and scoreboarder for the Deseret News in October, 2012. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org