Jerry Sands blasted a one-out, two-run walk-off homer to lift the Albuquerque Isotopes (50-38) over the Round Rock Express (38-5) 10-9 on Thursday night at Isotopes Park. The win is the team's third in a row and the 'Topes' first come-from-behind victory this season when trailing after eight innings (1-34).
Down 9-5 in the seventh, Albuquerque began to mount its late comeback when Alex Castellanos and Josh Fields smacked back-to-back singles. Tim Federowicz promptly slapped a single to left that scored Castellanos and was overrun by Yangervis Solarte for a fielding error that allowed Fields to trot home and bring the 'Topes within 9-7. Federowicz now has knocks in eight of his last 10 games, a span in which the backstop has collected 15 hits.
Tyler Henson then led off the eighth inning with a solo shot to left that continued the rally and narrowed the deficit 9-8.
'Topes closer Josh Wall (2-1) quickly retired the side in the ninth to bring the home team to the plate trailing by one run. Castellanos drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a groundout from Fields, putting the tying run in scoring position with one out. Sands, who leads Albuquerque in home runs and RBI, sent the first offering he saw from Round Rock closer Aaron Heilmann over the right field wall for a walk-off, two-run shot and a 10-9 'Topes victory.
The Isotopes and Express traded runs in the first two innings, with the home team scoring a pair on a two-run single from Sands.
The visitors answered with two of their own in the second, courtesy of an RBI double from Joey Butler and an RBI single from Luis Hernandez that knotted the contest 2-2. In the bottom half of the frame, Trent Oeltjen, who has racked up 10 RBI in the last five games, crushed a two-run dinger to right that put the 'Topes up 4-2.
Albuquerque added one more in the fifth to make it 5-2, before Round Rock poured on five runs in the sixth and gain its first lead of the night. Ryan Spilborghs began the inning with a double to right and advanced to third on a groundout to first. One batter later, Butler reached on an error by Sands, allowing Spilborghs to score and bring the Express within 5-3. 'Topes hurler Wil Ledezma then came on in relief, walking the first two batters he faced to load the bases for Dusty Brown, who unleashed a grand slam homer that gave the visitors a 7-5 lead.
Round Rock would add two more in the seventh before Albuquerque launched its five-run comeback through the final three innings, ultimately walking off with a 10-9 victory.
The Isotopes and Express square off tomorrow at 7:05 PM from Isotopes Park. 'Topes right-hander Stephen Fife (6-5, 4.88) will host Express southpaw Chad Bell (2-0, 0.77) in game three of the five-game set.
Albuquerque's five-game homestand rolls on with an appearance by Myron Noodleman tomorrow, a baseball clinic as well as Fireworks on Saturday and live entertainment act the SweetRight Brothers on Sunday.