FRISCO, TEXAS (June 9, 2014) - The RoughRiders won 7-4 on Joey Gallo's walk-off three-run home run in the ninth inning Monday night at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Gallo, who was leading all of minor league baseball in homers, was called up on Sunday June 8, and he sent the fans home happy in his Double-A debut.
The game was all Frisco early as the 'Riders cruised to a 4-0 lead and rode the back of starter Luke Jackson for the first five innings. However, with the game tied up 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth, Gallo did what everyone in attendance knew he was capable of. Guilder Rodriguez and Trever Adams laid down back-to-back successful bunt singles to reach base, and Gallo did the rest. The lefty smashed a 2-0 pitch opposite way to the berm in left-center and put the cherry on top of his 'Rider debut.
Midland (33-29) got their first runner aboard via a throwing error on shortstop Rodriguez, but Jackson buckled down by retiring the next three batters he faced.
The RoughRiders (37-24), with Midland only 2.5 games behind in the race for first for the division, needed to get the bats going and they did so in the bottom of the first off of RockHounds starter Shawn Haviland. Rodriguez led off the frame with a single up the middle and Trever Adams hit his sixth homer of the season to give Frisco an early 2-0 lead.
Jake Smolinski drew his 29th walk of the year in the next at-bat and Tomas Telis sent a double down the left-field line to put two in scoring position with no outs on the board.
That brought up Gallo who grounded out on a sharp ball to first in his first at-bat with Frisco, and Smolinski scored to make it 3-0 'Riders.
Ryan Rua got in on the action with a one-out RBI single to centerfield to score Telis and Frisco pushed the lead to 4-0. Haviland gave up a walk to Drew Robinson, but struck out Edwin Garcia and got Jake Skole to ground out to first to end the big first inning.
The RockHounds could not find much to hit off of Jackson in the first four frames as the righty put together a streak of three consecutive perfect innings, but Anthony Aliotti drove a pitch to the grass berm in right-centerfield for his fifth homer of the season. That ended the shutout and made the score 4-1 'Riders.
Havilands's outing ended after 4.2 innings pitched in which he gave up four earned runs on nine hits with four walks, six strikeouts and one home run allowed. Ryan Dull came on in relief and closed the book on Haviland's evening by getting Garcia to ground out.
Midland cut the 'Rider lead in half in the sixth inning when Conner Crumbliss hit a sacrifice fly to Skole in centerfield. Billy Burns tagged up and slid in to make the score 4-2 Frisco. Max Muncy followed that with a double to deep left field and he scored to make it 4-3 on Josh Whitaker's triple that hit the wall in right-center.
That chain of events ended Jackson's outing and sent Keone Kela to the mound in relief. Aliotti, who struck out and homered in his previous at-bats, singled home Whitaker to tie the contest at 4-4. Jackson finished with a final line of 5.1 innings pitched, three hits, four earned runs, two walks, nine strikeouts and one home run. He threw 93 pitches and 60 of them were strikes.
Frisco had an opportunity to scratch the go-ahead run across in the bottom of the sixth when a Rodriguez double and wild pitch got him to third, but the 'Riders could not get him home. Midland had a similar opportunity in the eighth when Crumbliss doubled to begin the frame, but Wilmer Font put an end to the threat with two strikeouts.
Seth Frankoff (2-2) entered the game in the ninth to hold the 'Riders, but the combination of speed and long ball, via Gallo, was not enough.
The RoughRiders look to even up the series with a win Tuesday night at 7:05 at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Alex Gonzalez makes his 'Riders debut after being promoted from Advanced-A Myrtle Beach and he faces off against Nate Long (6-1, 2.90 ERA). For tickets to see the 'Riders in 2014, call 972-731-9200, e-mail Info@RidersBaseball.com or visit www.ridersbaseball.com.