FRISCO, TEXAS (MAY 25, 2014) - Alec Asher threw six efficient innings against the Springfield Cardinals in a 3-2 RoughRiders win Sunday afternoon at Dr Pepper Ballpark after a rain delay extended the game into the night.
The 'Riders made the most of their hits on the afternoon as three of their four hits came in the form of a solo home run in back-to-back-to-back frames. Teodoro Martinez, Jake Smolinski and Ryan Rua each picked up a homer during the 3rd, 4th and 5th inning.
The contest might not have lasted a complete nine innings but the 'Riders righty did throw a complete game. Asher pitched all six innings and gave up five hits, allowed one unearned run, walked two and struck out three.
As a slight drizzle came down momentarily in the top of the 2nd, the Cardinals (23-26) struck first thanks to an RBI sacrifice fly by Jacob Wilson, making the score 1-0. Left fielder Jake Smolinski almost got baserunner Curt Smith but catcher Patrick Cantwell couldn't handle the toss. Cantwell, though, then threw out David Popkins trying to steal 2nd to end the inning.
Martinez smashed his first home run of the season in the bottom of the 3rd to tie things up. He left no doubt about it with the ball easily clearing the wall and landing near the Dr Pepper Patio in left field. The Venezuelan righty has consistently hit well against lefties, now batting a team-best .381 after Sunday's win.
By the next frame, the 'Riders (29-20) took a 2-1 lead after Smolinski provided Frisco with another solo shot to left field. The 25-year-old brawny outfielder drilled his seventh homer of the season on a 2-2 count, effectively waiting for the pitch he wanted as he so often accomplishes.
Asher struggled with his command early on but settled in on his slider as the game moved along. In the top of the 5th, he earned his 50th strikeout of the year when he faced Greg Miclat. The Florida native now becomes one of only four Texas League pitchers to reach this mark so far, joining teammate Luke Jackson (53).
For the third consecutive inning, the RoughRiders scored off a left-field solo home run, this time by Rua. The 6-2, 195 pound infielder notched his team-leading eighth homer on the very first pitch of the inning as Kyle Hald gave him a fastball that allowed Rua to go yard.
Stronger rainfall and sporadic lightning caused a rain delay at the ballpark and the grounds crew tarped the field right before the start of the bottom of the 6th inning. The umpires, managers and head grounds keeper deliberated and decided to continue the ballgame.
After the rain delay lasting almost two hours and thirty minutes, both teams were back on the field with new pitchers and a severely reduced fan base. Wilmer Font picked up two quick outs in the top of the 7th but couldn't earn the elusive third out as Mike O'Neill used an RBI triple to cut the deficit to 3-2. Jimmy Reyes would relieve Font and find a way out of the inning unscathed.
Phil Klein took care of business during the final two innings, keeping all six Cardinals batters faced at bay and putting the 'Riders one victory away from becoming the first team in the Texas League to reach 30 wins.
This Memorial Day, the RoughRiders and Cardinals will face off for the third time Monday at 2:05 p.m. at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Lefty Edwar Cabrera (1-1, 3.38 ERA) finishes off the series for Frisco and will go up against right-hander Sam Gaviglio (2-6, 5.76 ERA). For tickets to see the 'Riders in 2014, call 972-731-9200, e-mail Info@RidersBaseball.com or visit www.ridersbaseball.com.