FRISCO, TEXAS (June 3, 2014) - The Frisco RoughRiders couldn't overcome seven great innings from Juan Oramas as they fell 3-1 to the San Antonio Missions on Tuesday night at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
The 'Riders (33-23) have now lost back-to-back games for the first time since May 18 and 19 but still maintain a three game hold on first place in the south division. The Missions (30-27) continue to be on the rise as they have now won seven of their last eight and are tied with the Midland RockHounds for second place behind Frisco.
San Antonio got a big boost from Juan Oramas (1-0), who made his Double-A debut with a bang and showed no issues against any of his opposing batters. The lefty pitched seven innings and allowed only two hits with seven strikeouts.
Jerad Eickhoff (4-4) took the loss for the 'Riders and struggled to find his groove early on. He fought his way through six innings and allowed three runs (two earned runs) on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts. The 6-4, 240 pound righty didn't give up much but had three costly hits to left field in three different frames.
Even though the first run Eickhoff gave up was unearned, he had the scoring run within his grasp.
In the top of the 1st, Yeison Asencio hit an awkward ball down the first baseline and caused Frisco first baseman Jim Adduci-who was making a rehab appearance-to fall as he controlled the elusive baseball. Adduci then gently tossed it to Eickhoff, who dropped it, allowing Asencio on base. A few batters later, Rymer Liriano brought Asencio home with an RBI double to left to make the score 1-0.
Liriano struck again in the 2nd frame with another RBI smacked to left field. San Antonio's southpaw batters seemed to incessantly attack left field and third baseman Ryan Rua kept letting balls get by him. Brian Bixler added the team's third RBI to left and extended the Missions' lead to 3-0 in the top of the 4th.
Eickhoff finally found his footing in a very efficient 5th inning, using two pitches to force his first two batters to fly out and three strikes to close out the final batter. In the bottom of the frame, the 'Riders finally got on base after Rua hit one right past Oramas into center field. Frisco, though, couldn't capitalize off its first hit as the next three batters all got out.
The sixth inning would be the last for Eickhoff before Jon Edwards came in to pitch the 7th and had great command right away. The right-hander struck out his first two batters and then used three pitches to get out of the inning.
Tanner Scheppers made his rehab appearance in the top of the 8th and looked comfortable on the hill. He quickly took care of business and allowed one single in facing four Missions batters. His final out had no shortage of entertainment as he swiftly caught a line drive coming right at his head.
After Missions lefty Frank Garces relieved Oramas in the 8th, Chris Grayson used a perfectly placed blooper to earn the 'Riders third hit of the night. San Antonio then pulled off a beautiful 4-6-3 double play to kill Frisco's momentum to start the inning. Guilder Rodriguez would pick up a base hit to extend his hit streak to nine games (.441).
The 'Riders relievers continued to effectively retire batters, this time by Phil Klein in the 9th frame. The 25-year-old Ohio native used six strikes and a strikeout to complete a 1-2-3 inning.
Missions closer Johnny Barbato came in to close this one out and gave the RoughRiders a chance to make it a game. Tomas Telis lined one to center for a single and Ryan Rua followed that up by singling to right field to put two men on. Facing a 1-2 count with two outs, Teodoro Martinez smacked one to center field to bring home Telis and cut the deficit to 3-1. That is as close as the 'Riders would get before Barbato induced a flyout to center field and picked up his league-leading 15th save of the season.
The RoughRiders and Missions will play the second game in their four-game series Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Texas League wins leader Luke Jackson (6-2, 2.80 ERA) will take the mound for Frisco and face right-hander Josh Greer (2-5, 3.30 ERA). For tickets to see the 'Riders in 2014, call 972-731-9200, e-mail Info@RidersBaseball.com or visit www.ridersbaseball.com.