FRISCO, TEXAS (June 29, 2014) - Frisco scored an efficient five runs on eight hits, but Lane Adams carried his club going 3-for-5 with five RBI and a three-run bomb to send the Naturals to a 6-5 late inning comeback on Sunday at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
Alec Asher started just about as well as he could have by retiring his first six hitters with five fly ball outs and one strike out.
The RoughRiders batting order also got off to a hot start by sending eight men to the plate in what would be a 31-pitch first inning for Naturals' starter Tim Melville. Ryan Strausborger continued his fantastic opening stint with the 'Riders with a leadoff base hit to centerfield. The Frisco veteran came into the game batting .500 and the single was his eight hit in his fourth game.
Patrick Cantwell followed that with his sixth walk of the year to put the first two men on base, and Odubel Herrera smacked his 21st RBI on a line drive to right field to make the score 1-0 'Riders.
Joey Gallo, serving as the Frisco designated hitter, followed suit with an RBI double off the right field wall and Cantwell scored to push the lead to 2-0. Melville was able to find some rhythm and retired both Trever Adams and Teodoro Martinez on pop ups, but then walked Jake Skole to load the bases with two outs. Drew Robinson was looking to bust things open, but he was called out on strikes to end the lengthy inning.
The Naturals (6-5, 31-50) looked to establish themselves in the series and they did so in the third inning with a big frame of their own. The Royals' double-A affiliate sent all nine batters to the dish and cashed in with a four-run inning. Asher gave up two consecutive hits to Juan Graterol and Justin Trapp to get it all started, but a strikeout of Ethan Chapman shifted the momentum in Asher's direction.
Adams, however, put the momentum and score back in favor of Melville with a three-run bomb to left field. It was his ninth home run of the year and that crack of the bat gave Northwest Arkansas a 3-2 lead.
Asher struck out Orlando Calixte swinging to earn his second out, but three more singles put the tall righty in hot water. Jorge Bonifacio and Cheslor Cuthbert singled to right and left, respectively, and Bonifacio later scored to make it 4-2 on a hard hit ground ball that Robinson was not able to handle. The ball popped out of his glove and he recovered to throw over to first, but the throw pulled Adams off the bag.
Former RoughRider and Texas Ranger Max Ramirez popped out to shallow left to end the big inning and the 'Riders returned to the dugout looking to rally. The Naturals racked up six hits in that frame.
Herrera grounded out to first to begin the bottom of the third but Gallo roped a single over the second baseman Trapp for his second hit in as many at bats. Adams, who led the team in doubles with 17, decided to make it 18 with a ball hit hard to deep center field. Gallo scored from first to cut the deficit to 4-3, and Martinez sent an RBI single to left to score Adams and tie the contest at 4-4.
Frisco (4-6, 44-35) reclaimed the lead in the fourth with a combination of speed and small ball. Guilder Rodriguez walked and stole second and he later advanced to third on a Strausborger single. Cantwell sent a sacrifice fly to right field and Rodriguez scored to make it 5-4 Frisco without a play as the throw was up the third base line.
Melville pitched four innings and allowed five runs to score on seven hits with four walks and two strikeouts. He threw 46 of his 90 pitches for strikes before being relieved by Angel Baez in the fifth.
Asher gave up a leadoff single to Graterol in the sixth and was relieved by Randy Henry. Trapp walked to put two on and Chapman successfully bunted the runners over with a sacrifice out. That brought up Adams who added to his productive game with a sacrifice fly on a fantastic diving catch by Martinez in left, and the game was tied once again at 5-5.
Asher's evening was concluded with nine hits and five runs (four earned), to go along with no walks, four strikeouts and one home run. The 'Riders innings pitched leader tossed 59 of his 84 pitches for strikes.
The game held still at 5-5 until Adams, who was having a monster night, stepped up in the eighth. Trapp singled and advanced to third by way of a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch by Will Lamb. Adams sent a triple through the gap in right center that rolled all the way to the wall and Trapp broke the tie to make it 6-5 Naturals. Adams was responsible for all five RBI for his club.
Not only did he carry the team offensively but also made a game-saving catch in the bottom of the frame to rob Martinez of what could have been his fourth long ball.
Scott Alexander (1-2) earned the win and Lamb (1-1) suffered the loss, while Andrew Triggs nailed down the save (11).
The RoughRiders attempt to take the series win from the Naturals tomorrow morning. Righty Jerad Eickhoff (5-5, 4.23 ERA) looks to earn win number six of the year and fellow righty Jason Adam (2-7, 5.38 ERA) will pitch for the Naturals. First pitch is at 11:05 a.m. on Monday at Dr Pepper Ballpark. For tickets to see the 'Riders in 2014, call 972-731-9200, e-mail Info@RidersBaseball.com or visit www.ridersbaseball.com.