Midland, Texas - For the second night in a row the Arkansas Travelers achieved season highs in runs scored and base hits in a 12-4 blowout victory over the Midland RockHounds. Designated hitter Robbie Widlansky led a 14-hit attack with his first three-hit game of the year including his first home run. Texas League Player of the Week Matt Long, Kaleb Cowart and Drew Heid added two hits apiece as the Travs won their second straight game.
The victory ensures a winning road trip for the Travs and pushes their record to 6-5, while the RockHounds drop their third straight to fall to 6-5.
On a night where all nine Travs starters recorded at least one base hit, the bottom of the order produced the first five runs batted in. Hounds pitcher Arnold Leon (1-1) issued a one-out walk to Widlansky in the second inning followed by a single from Heid. Taylor Lindsey's apparent double-play grounder to second base turned into a run when Darwin Perez muffed second baseman Dusty Coleman's feed allowing Widlansky to score. Eighth-place batter Jett Bandy cracked a double to left-center knocking in two runs for a 3-0 lead. Shortstop Rolando Gomez then crushed a two-run homer (2) to straight-away center field, his second in as many games, for a 5-0 lead.
Mike Piazza (1-0) earned the win during a five-inning start allowing four runs on six base hits. With heavy winds blowing out for the first five innings, Piazza was touched for a couple of home runs but added seven strikeouts against two walks.
Jeremy Barfield hit a double leading off the second inning for the Hounds and scored when David Freitas singled to cut the Travs lead to 5-1.
Leading off the top of the third, Widlansky hit a bouncing ball up the middle for a single. Lindsey's bloop single moved him to second base then Bandy chopped a grounder to shortstop. Perez forced Lindsey at second base, but Coleman's attempt for the double play ended in the first base dugout allowing Widlansky to score for a 6-1 lead.
The Hounds got within 6-2 when Jacob Goebbert lifted a homer to left in the fourth inning but the Travs responded with three runs for a 9-1 lead on Widlansky's long ball to center field. Leon was done after just 3.2 innings with nine runs (seven earned) on his record.
The third Hounds error aided the Travs in the fifth inning. With Nate Long on the mound, Bandy drew a leadoff walk and advanced on Matt Long's second single. Cowart followed with a grounder that Perez fielded behind second base. He attempted to throw to first off the wrong foot and airmailed the ball into the crowd allowing Bandy to score. C.J. Cron then cracked a two-run double capping the Travs offense with a 12-2 lead.
After Piazza surrendered a two-run homer to Miles Head in the fifth inning, the Travs bullpen kept the RockHounds at bay for the last four frames.
Nick Maronde dealt two scoreless innings, while Michael Cisco and Ryan Chaffee added one shutout inning each.
The Travs wrap up their six-game trip on Tuesday with right hander Jarrett Grube (2-0, 0.79) on the mound against Midland righty Zach Neal (0-0, 0.00). The game begins at 6:30 with coverage available on Sports Animal 920 (KARN AM) starting at 6:05.