The Albuquerque Isotopes have a hat giveaway promotion on Monday, their final home game of the 2018 season.
The Reno Aces couldn’t wait.
The visitors for the final four-game series arrived at Isotopes Park on Friday afternoon without hats of their own, the result of an apparent shipping snafu from Tacoma, Wash., where the Aces last played.
As a result, the home team outfitted Reno’s roster with red, snapback Isotopes hats, meaning both teams were wearing Isotopes hats (the home team wore black hats).
Several Aces used medical tape to cover the logo of their opponents, some even using a marker to try and replicate their own logo over the tape. By the eighth inning, the lost lids had arrived, but it was too late.
Albuquerque (60-70) opened its final home stand with a 2-1 win over the visiting Aces in front of an announced Isotopes Park crowd of 8,409.
The Isotopes, limping to the finish line of late, got a rare dominant pitching performance on Friday. Starter David Holmberg (W, 7-7) allowed four hits over six innings and only an unearned run in the third inning. Three ‘Topes relievers combined for three scoreless innings.
The ‘Topes tied the game when Jordan Patterson scored in the fifth inning on a Tom Murphy triple and took the lead for good in the sixth when Garrett Hampson, who was 3-for-4, scored on a Pat Valaika RBI single.
SAY WHAT? For 844 consecutive Isotopes game, Josh Suchon has been on the call.
The iron man, iron throat, streak ends tonight as the team’s radio and online play-by-play announcer is heading to California for a wedding of a close friend.
He will return Sunday.
In his place on air today with be local morning radio host and New Mexico Bowl Director Jeff Siembieda, who will handle the play-by-play on the 610 KNML-AM broadcast, which is also simulcast on the MILB.com live video stream of the game. Pitching in with an assist on the call will be Isotopes Director of Public Relations Kevin Collins.
Coincidentally, Reno Aces play-by-play announcer Ryan Radtke is also missing a rare two games and, like Suchon, is expected back on Sunday.
The Isotopes radio feed was sent back to Reno on Friday and is scheduled to be done again today.
NO G? Isotopes manager Glenallen Hill has already managed his final game of the season in Albuquerque. The ‘Topes manager left the team’s series in El Paso earlier this week to be at his daughter’s wedding this weekend. He will rejoin the team in Sacramento next week.
GREAT GROUNDS: ‘Topes head groundskeeper Clint Belau received a Presidential Commendation from the Pacific Coast League for excellence in turf management, the team announced Friday.
“It’s nice to know the PCL recognizes all the hard work we put in to maintaining the field at Isotopes Park,” Belau said in a statement released by the team. “Being able to work with the likes of Davin Sandia, Ryan Coleman and Darren Pedro makes my job easier and we would not have been able to win this commendation without their hard work.”
Belau has worked with the ‘Topes for six years, but this is his first as head groundskeeper.
RE-RETIREMENT: This weekend’s series will mark the end of one of the ‘Topes’ most recognizable staffers who has been a part of the team since Day 1.
Paul Hartenberger, who started a retirement gig at Isotopes Park in November 2002, even before the organization’s inaugural 2003 season, will retire again after Monday’s home finale as the Isotopes Suite Relations Manager.
Hartenberger, 80, has a master’s degree, volunteered in the Peace Corps and worked at the U.S. State Department. He can be seen most days hours before games wiping down every seat on the suite level with a rag and hustling around making sure guests have all they need during the games.
Click here for updated PCL standings.
Vs. Reno, 6:35 p.m.
610 AM/95.9 FM
Promotion: Fan Appreciation/postgame fireworks
Probables: Isotopes RHP Jeff Hoffman (6-8, 4.85) vs. Aces TBA.
Friday: Four Isotopes pitchers combined to shut down the visiting Reno Aces in a 2-1 win to open the final Isotopes home stand in 2018.
Reno’s run was unearned in the third inning off starter David Holmberg (7-7), who allowed four hits and struck out four in six innings. Three ‘Topes relievers combined for three scoreless innings; Reno hitters were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.