Red-hot Ildemaro Vargas becomes Reno Aces' all-time hit king

Ildemaro Vargas
Ildemaro Vargas is the Reno Aces' all-time hit king. (David Calvert/Reno Aces)

History was made during the Reno Aces' 11-9 loss to the Salt Lake Bees on Tuesday afternoon at Greater Nevada Field.

Shortstop Ildemaro Vargas became the franchise's all-time hit king (the team moved to Reno in 2009). Vargas went 2-for-4 with a solo home run in the loss to move his hit tally to 400 in his Aces career. The 27-year-old Venezuela native made his Reno debut in 2016, appearing in 49 games while hitting .354. He’s been a Triple-A All-Star in back-to-back seasons (2017 and 2018), which included a 35-game hit streak last year, the fifth-longest single-season hitting streak in the Pacific Coast League's 116-year history.

Vargas started this season at the big-league level before being sent to Triple-A Reno, where he is hitting .733 (11-for-15) in four games. Vargas had 70 hits in 2016, 152 in 2017, 167 in 2018 and 11 this season. He passed Cole Gillespie, who had 399 hits in his Aces career from 2010-12.

The 6-foot, 170-pound Vargas hails from Caripito, Venezuela, where he enrolled in a baseball academy at 12. The St. Louis Cardinals signed him at age 16 and brought him to the United States at 18 after two seasons in the Venezuelan Summer League. Vargas logged seven seasons in the Cardinals’ organization, topping out with an eight-game stint at Double-A in 2014 before St. Louis released him. After a month playing independent league baseball, the Arizona Diamondbacks signed him to a minor-league deal before he made his big-league debut in 2017.

Earlier this month, Vargas recorded his 1,000 career minor-league hit. In 290 games with Reno, Vargas has hit .323 (400-of-1,237). In 52 big-league games, Vargas has hit .218 in 87 at-bats, including a .200 average in 55 at-bats this season.

Reno's loss to Salt Lake was the team's season-high seventh straight as the Aces fell to 14-25 this season. Manager Chris Cron and outfielder Travis Snider were ejected in the bottom of the first inning. The ejections were the first for Reno in 2019 and the first for Snider and Cron in their Aces careers. The Aces had eight ejections in 2018.

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