In his first career start above Class A-Advanced, Round Rock Express starter Neil Ramirez tossed 6.0 scoreless innings and earned the win as the Express blanked the Omaha Storm Chasers 2-0 in Wednesday night's Pacific Coast League action at The Dell Diamond. The Express (4-3) clinched the series with their third consecutive victory against the Storm Chasers (2-5).
Taylor Teagarden snapped a scoreless tie with a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth, and Doug Deeds added a solo homer in the seventh for the game's lone runs. Ryan Tucker tossed 3.0 innings to collect his first save of the season.
Ramirez, whose lone career outing above Class A was with Class A-Advanced Myrtle Beach last week, joined the Express for a spot start Wednesday due to scheduled starter Eric Hurley's placement on the seven-day disabled list with an illness. The 21-year-old right-hander made the most of his opportunity, holding Omaha to three hits and no walks with five strikeouts. Ramirez retired the last seven batters he faced in order and 14 of the last 15, striking out each of the last three.
It was the 15th career professional victory for Ramirez, one of four first-round picks for the Rangers in the 2007 MLB First-Year Player Draft. The Virginia Beach, Va., native was 10-8 with 142 strikeouts in 140.1 innings over 28 outings for Class-A Hickory last season.
Meanwhile, Omaha starter Jeff Suppan was dominant himself until Teagarden's sixth-inning homer. He was saddled with the tough-luck loss, allowing one run on six hits and no walks with two strikeouts over 5.1 innings. Suppan (0-2), the 2006 National League Championship Series MVP, is in his 19th season of professional baseball. He was the Boston Red Sox second-round draft pick in 1993 - two weeks after Ramirez turned 4.
Brian Barden was 2-for-4 for the Express and extended his multiple-season hitting streak to 27 games, the longest active streak in the PCL.
Round Rock and Omaha conclude their four-game series Thursday with a 7:05 p.m. CDT first pitch at The Dell Diamond. Southpaw Zach Jackson (1-0, 6.75 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Express, while right-hander Kevin Pucetas (1-0, 0.00 ERA) is on the docket for the Storm Chasers.