W - Aguero (1-0)
SV - Phillips (2)
HR - Cruz (2), Tracy (1)
5-3, 0.0 GU
The Express swept the four-game set from a talented Omaha club to finish off its first homestand of the season.
Round Rock came back late in the contest with the help of Kevin Cash's game-winning three-run triple in the bottom of the eighth. The veteran backstop entered the game with five triples in 844 career games between the majors and minors.
Left-hander Zach Jackson scattered the damage over seven innings, as he allowed five runs on nine hits, including home runs to sluggers Eric Hosmer and Clint Robinson. He struck out four without walking a batter.
Cleanup hitter and first baseman Chad Tracy got the Express on the board with a two-run homer––his first of the season––in the bottom of the fourth. He was 2-for-4 on the night.
Shortstop Luis Cruz, who was also 2-for-4 with a two-run jack, stole his first base of the season.
Endy Chavez (1/3, BB), Brian Barden (2/4) and Joey Butler (1/2, 2 BB) all reached base multiple times. Butler was making his Triple-A debut after being promoted from Double-A Frisco on Wednesday.
Righty Ramon Aguero picked up his first Triple-A victory with a scoreless eighth inning. Working around a walk but no hits, the former Pirates farmhand threw 23 pitches (12 strikes) and struck out one.
Zach Phillips worked a perfect 12-pitch ninth inning for his second save of the season.
L - Castillo (0-1)
HR - Bianucci (5)
3-4, 3.0 GB
Frisco left-hander Martin Perez matched a career best with nine strikeouts over five scoreless innings in Thursday's series opener. The 20-year-old, who is the second-youngest player in the Texas League, yielded four hits and walked two. He threw 51 of his 81 pitches for strikes.
The solid results are encouraging for Perez, who came up with big pitches and stranded five runners in scoring position over the five innings.
Stuff has rarely been a problem for the top prospect, and his fastball was routinely working in the mid-90s against Springfield. Perez mixed in the occasional gem last season but had too many low-inning, high-pitch outings. It will be interesting to see if he's able to build on Thursday's effort and begin to gain consistency.
After the game, Frisco RoughRiders broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith caught up with Perez. That audio can be found at this link.
The RoughRiders got a lead in the fourth inning, when Mike Bianucci (.333/.400/.926 in seven games) launched a two-run homer, his fifth in seven games this season. He also walked.
But the lead was erased quickly in the sixth and seventh innings, when relievers Corey Young and Fabio Castillo combined to surrender a whopping nine runs, including eight in the seventh.
After missing all of spring training with a broken foot, Castillo made his 2011 season debut on Thursday. The outing didn't go quite as planned. He entered the game with two on and one out in the seventh, and then the following happened––single, double, intentional walk, single, single, wild pitch, walk, groundout, single.
The final line for the hard-throwing reliever was six runs allowed on five hits and two walks in just one-third of an inning. His ERA currently sits at 162.00.
Leadoff hitter Renny Osuna singled twice in two trips before leaving the game with a broken nose. He was later placed on the seven-day disabled list.
First baseman Jonathan Greene was 2-for-4 with his third double.
L - Kiker (0-1)
3-3, 1.5 GB
Chad Bell battled with his command a bit in spring training, and unfortunately that issue appears to have carried over into the regular season. In making a spot-start for Neil Ramirez on Thursday, Bell failed to get out of the first inning, surrendering three runs in two-thirds of a frame. He yielded three hits and walked two.
University of Oklahoma product Andrew Doyle helped keep the Pelicans in the game with three scoreless innings of relief. The sinkerballer gave up two hits, walked two, and struck out three.
Lefty Kasey Kiker entered the game in relief of Doyle with two outs in the fourth. He quickly got a pickoff to end the frame.
But the fifth and sixth weren't as kind to Kiker. Overall, the erratic hurler allowed three runs (two earned) on just one hit. He walked four, plunked one, and uncorked a wild pitch. He also struck out one.
Left fielder Travis Adair (.304/.385/.478 in six games) had a perfect day at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a double, three walks, and a run batted in.
A natural second baseman, Adair is getting time at second, left field, and DH with fellow second baseman Santiago Chirino also on the roster.
Ryan Strausborger (2/4, 2B, BB) and Mike Olt (1/4, 2B, BB) also doubled. Strausborger is off to an 11-for-24 start to his season with four extra-base hits.
DH Jared Hoying returned to the lineup after a minor injury kept him out for a few days. The athletic outfielder singled twice and hit a sacrifice fly in five trips.
Relievers Trevor Hurley (2 IP) and Tyler Tufts (1 IP) tossed three scoreless innings at the back-end of the game in the losing effort.
L - Tepesch (0-1)
5-3, 1.5 GB
Nick Tepesch may be 0-1 for his professional career, but he has yet to yield an earned run in 6.1 innings.
The 22-year-old was undone by a pair of Jurickson Profar errors in the two-run fourth inning. Tepesch worked four innings, giving up those two unearned runs and four singles. Two of the hits were infield singles. He walked none, fanned two, and induced seven groundouts against one flyout.
The Crawdads offense pushed only one run across on six hits. Profar (1/4, 3B) tripled while DH Tomas Telis (2/4, 2B) doubled for the lone extra-base knocks.
Jake Skole (1/4), Andrew Clark (1/4) and Teodoro Martinez (1/3) had the other hits. Martinez swiped his second base in four attempts.
Savannah got some separation in the run column against righty Braden Tullis, who permitted four runs on eight hits over three innings.
Right-handers Zach Osborne and Ryan Rodebaugh worked one shutout frame apiece to close it out. The back-end bullpen duo has combined for 18 strikeouts through nine innings so far this season.
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