Sacramento and Las Vegas bats seemed to cool off with the temperature as the night wore on at Raley Field.
The problem for the River Cats was that as the sun went down they were trailing 4-3 en route to a 6-3 defeat Monday night.
In the season’s first four games, the River Cats scored 16 of their 20 runs in the first three innings. Those numbers were indicative of how Monday night would play out.
The 25-year-old Travis Banwart took the mound to start the series against Las Vegas. The Wichita State product pitched in 15 games for Sacramento last season and finished with a 4-2 record while striking out 71.
The River Cats right-hander was the victim of back-to-back home runs in the first inning, but only allowed three hits later, getting pulled after 4.1 innings.
Sacramento went back-and-forth with Las Vegas early, scoring two runs off a sac fly by Chris Carter and a fielder’s choice grounder from Matt Carson, matching the 51s home runs with two runs of their own. After Las Vegas scored their third run in the second inning, Adrian Cardenas followed suit, hitting a triple to center while bringing in Steve Tolleson. That run would be the last for the River Cats on the evening.
The 51s got a triple of their own in the top of the third inning, putting them in position to take back the lead. In the ensuing at-bat, right fielder Adam Loewen brought in Eric Thames to put the Las Vegas up one.
Tolleson, who had two hits and a walk on Monday, has had a good start to his season but he doesn’t want to lose sight of what matters most.
“One of our biggest goals is just trying to win games,” said Tolleson. “It makes it a lot more fun. I feel that if the team plays well and we win some games you’ll also play well.”