Little Rock - The Arkansas Travelers earned their second consecutive win by one run in a 2-1 victory over the Midland RockHounds on Friday night at Dickey-Stephens Park. Jett Bandy knocked in the first run and scored the winning run helping the Travs improve to 5-2. Five pitchers combined to hold the Hounds to six base hits with starter Drew Rucinski (2-0) earning his second win over Midland in six days.
The Hounds' lone run scored in the first inning when Connor Crumbliss hit a solo home run (1) off Rucinski giving the RockHounds a brief lead.
Left fielder Zach Borenstein hit a double to begin the second inning off Tanner Peters. Michael Snyder hit a fly ball to right field that moved Borenstein to third, then Bandy flied out to right field again bringing home the tying run with a sacrifice fly.
Peters ran off ten consecutive outs until Bandy hit a double with one out in the fifth inning. Drew Heid's one-out ground out moved Bandy to third base and brought Shawn O'Malley to bat. He hit a bouncer to Crumbliss at second base that took a high hop off his chest. O'Malley beat Crumbliss's rushed throw allowing Bandy to score the go-ahead run.
Rucinski finished five innings and gave up five hits and two walks while adding six strikeouts. He never allowed the RockHounds to get on track. After giving up a leadoff single in the second inning to Jefry Marte, Rucinski retired the next three batters. He struck out five batters in the next two innings then pitched around a walk and single in the fifth leaving two batters.
The Travs bullpen entered in the sixth inning with R.J. Alvarez firing 1.2 innings with four strikeouts. Alvarez gave way to Carmine Giardina after a two-out walk in the seventh. Giardina retired Crumbliss with the tying run at second base on a pop out.
Kevin Johnson pitched the eighth inning and allowed a leadoff single to Dusty Coleman, who was forced at second base when Max Muncy hit into a fielder's choice. Marte then drove a ball to the left field wall where Borenstein made a great lunging catch. Josh Whitaker flied to shallow center to end the inning.
Mike Morin earned his third save with a perfect ninth inning.
Time of game was 2:39 and the paid attendance was 5,326.
Saturday night the Travs have a shot at their first series sweep when they host the RockHounds at 6:10 p.m. Left hander Kramer Sneed (1-0, 1.50) is on the hill for the Travs against Midland's Raul Alcantara (1-0, 1.80). Gates open at 5:10 p.m.