FRISCO, TEXAS (July 20, 2014) - The RoughRiders have strung together back-to-back wins thanks to a close 3-2 win against the Hooks Sunday night at Dr Pepper Ballpark. For the second night in a row, the 'Riders squeaked past Corpus Christi by a one-run advantage.
Odubel Herrera has been one of the most consistent hitters during the 'Riders' recent struggles and continued the trend, picking up three hits on the night. Herrera and the rest of the Frisco batters were aided by Hooks' blunders, as two of the RoughRiders' runs came in innings with Corpus Christi errors.
Starter Alex Claudio kept leaving runners on base, and for the game, the Hooks went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Francisco Mendoza (3-1) earned his third win of the season after striking out three in 1 1/3 innings pitched.
The Hooks (16-14, 50-50) have shown off exceptional fielding throughout this series and did so right off the bat Sunday night. In the bottom of the first, after David Rollins allowed the two men he faced on base, Herrera stepped up to the plate and lined a single into left field. Chris Grayson, who was at second base, received the wave around but was thrown out at home due to a beautifully thrown ball by left fielder Ruben Sosa. Corpus Christi then pulled off the 9-2 double play as right fielder Andrew Aplin had his own quality throw home.
Claudio, 22, faced trouble in the third frame but kept the damage to a minimum. The Puerto Rican allowed three of the first four batters he faced to get on base with Delino DeShields coming up to bat. DeShields hit an RBI sacrifice fly to left fielder Grayson, who couldn't accurately thrown home. Claudio, though, induced a groundout from Jonathan Meyer to close out the inning and keep the 'Riders within reach.
The RoughRiders (15-14, 55-43) used timely hitting to tie the game in the next inning. After Herrera earned his second hit with a slow-rolling single past Meyer at third base, Trever Adams powered an RBI double into right-center field. Very few players would have been able to make it all the way home from first, but Herrera displayed why he is one of the best baserunners on the team.
It didn't take long for the Hooks to take back the lead. In the top of the fifth, speedy outfielder DeShields brought home Tony Kemp from second and made it all the way to third for his first triple of the 2014 campaign. Claudio struck out the next batter, Meyer, to end the inning.
The back-and-forth contest persisted in the sixth when the 'Riders found a way to knot things up again. Mike Hauschild (1-6) replaced Rollins at the start of the frame, as the starter gave up one earned run on four hits with three strikeouts and one walk in five innings pitched.
Guilder Rodriguez and Herrera each picked up one-out singles and then Adams reached first after Meyer couldn't get a handle on a grounder. J.T. Wise, who made his first appearance as catcher for Frisco, reached on a fielding error by first baseman Telvin Nash, allowing Rodriguez to trot home and make the score 2-2. Wise has reached safely in all seven games played since joining Frisco about a week ago.
In the seventh, Mendoza took the mound as Claudio saw his night come to a close. The 'Riders lefty starter allowed two earned runs on five hits while taking down three on strikes and walking one.
Mendoza looked much more in control than two nights ago when he was one of the 'Riders relievers who allowed nine runs in the ninth. He took down his second-to-last batter of the inning looking and his final batter swinging.
The 'Riders finally surpassed the Hooks in the run column when they went to bat in the seventh. Hanser Alberto started the frame with a leadoff single, which was his first hit in his last 19 at-bats. An errant pickoff throw by Hauschild got past first baseman Nash and rolled all the way to the wall. Due to the Hooks' fourth error of the game, Alberto sprinted around to third base. Jake Skole, who has been in his own offensive slump of late, hit an RBI single into center field and put the 'Riders up 3-2.
Mendoza walked DeShields to start the eighth, and after the Corpus Christi outfielder stole second, he advanced to third on a throwing error by Wise. The 'Riders righty reliever struck out Meyer before manager Jason Wood went to the mound to let Mendoza know his night was over.
Will Lamb entered with DeShields at third and effectively got out of the inning unscathed. He pitched in the ninth as well and notched his second save of the season. With the victory, the 'Riders now have ten wins in the month of July.
The RoughRiders will take the road and face the Midland RockHounds Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Security Bank Ballpark. Frisco righty Alec Asher (7-9, 4.04) will take the mound against fellow right-hander Nate Long (8-5, 3.29 ERA). For tickets to see the 'Riders in 2014, call 972-731-9200, e-mail Info@RidersBaseball.com or visit www.ridersbaseball.com.