MIDLAND, TEXAS (JULY 22, 2014) - The Frisco RoughRiders battled the Midland RockHounds for 14 innings and split Tuesday's doubleheader at Security Bank Ballpark to take a 2-1 lead in the four-game series.
With the split, Frisco (57-44; 17-15) has won four of its last five and remains a 1/2 game behind the RockHounds for the best overall mark in the Texas League.
Midland (58-43; 20-12) stays tied with the 'Riders in the season series at nine wins apiece.
Frisco fell into a four-run hole in the first inning of the first game. Starter Jerad Eickhoff allowed the first five RockHounds' batters to reach safely.
Max Muncy, held to a 0-for-4 night on Monday, opened the scoring with an RBI single to right field. Jefry Marte followed suit with a base knock up the chute and the RockHounds quickly lead 2-0.
Later in the first, Dusty Coleman doubled the home team's advantage when he ripped a two-bagger to left and the 'Riders abruptly faced a 4-0 hole.
Frisco bided its time and then erupted with a five-run inning to storm ahead in the fourth. With Odubel Herrera on first base and one away, Joey Gallo rang a dinger out to right field for his 32nd home run of the season and 11th with the RoughRiders.
The blast broke a home run drought by Gallo's standards and was the lefty's first since July 7. He now trails the minor league leader Kris Bryant of Triple-A Iowa by one in the race to crown MiLB's 2014 home run king.
The 'Riders capitalized on wildness by Midland starter Drew Granier to take the lead later in the frame. Granier hit Teodoro Martinez and walked Drew Robinson with one out.
Granier sank further into debt when he committed a costly throwing error on a ground ball from Hanser Alberto. Martinez scored to tie make it a one-run game and the 'Riders had two men in scoring position for Jake Skole.
The 2010 first round draft choice delivered with a pull-side double to right and catapulted the RoughRiders to a 5-4 lead.
Frisco extended its edge an inning later with another two-base knock, this one from Trever Adams, to make the score 6-4 in the top of the fifth.
Now it was the RockHounds' turn to rally and it began in the bottom half on Marte's second RBI single of the ballgame to slice the Frisco lead to one.
Eickhoff returned to the hill in the sixth, but with one out on the board, Alberto booted a ground ball at short and allowed Kent Matthes to reach.
The exchange spelled the end of Eickhoff's night and the miscue would come back to bite the 'Riders one batter later.
Coleman, the Texas League leader in strikeouts, delivered two-run home run to the deepest part of the park off Erik Hamren and Midland recaptured a 7-6 lead.
The shot broke the backs of the RoughRiders, who struck out in consecutive fashion against Jose Flores.
Spurred by the momentum from a game one triumph, Midland came out firing against Frisco's game two starter, Martire Garcia. The southpaw, in his first career start at the Double-A level, faced seven batters in the first inning and surrendered a two-RBI single to Matthes to put the Hounds up 2-0.
Faced with another deficit, the RoughRiders reacted with poise and sounded off for six runs and eight hits over the next two innings. Alberto, Skole and Chris Grayson each drove in runs with consecutive two-out singles to give the 'Riders a 3-2 lead in the second.
Gallo joined the game two fray in the third and drove home a pair with a single and Alberto picked up his second RBI in as many at-bats as Frisco asserted its control on game two with a 6-2 advantage.
The sides exchanged runs in the fifth as J.T. Wise scored on a wild pitch and Matthes drove in his third run of the ballgame.
In the top of the seventh, Gallo removed any shred of doubt the 'Riders would hold on when he socked home his third run of the ballgame on his third hit of the night.
The 2014 MLB Futures Game MVP has emerged from a recent swoon at the plate and has batted 6-for-9 with five RBI in three games against the RockHounds.
Also of note was game two winning pitcher Brodie Downs, who tallied the decision after pitching one hitless inning in which he walked a batter. Downs, 35, joined the 'Riders on July 11 and earned his first affiliated win since August 4, 2009.
The 'Riders and RockHounds conclude their four-game series on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. CDT in Midland. Coverage begins at 6:05 p.m. on www.ridersbaseball.com.
Frisco next returns to Dr Pepper Ballpark on Thursday, July 24 to begin a seven-game homestand. For tickets to see the 'Riders in 2014, call 972-731-9200, e-mail Info@RidersBaseball.com or visit www.ridersbaseball.com.