FRISCO, TEXAS (July 29, 2014) - During a game that featured just a handful of hits from both teams, Joey Gallo stole the show for the RoughRiders as they won 6-2 Tuesday night at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
With the score tied in the eighth, the RockHounds (24-15, 62-47) sent in relief pitcher Omar Duran after Marcus Walden (1-2) loaded the bases with two outs. On Duran's first pitch, Gallo saw the fastball he wanted and thumped it entirely out of the park.
The 'Riders (22-17, 62-46) sent out Jake Thompson for his first start with the 'Riders. He held his own through four innings before Alex Claudio (2-2) took the cowhide and mowed down the Hounds batters. Frisco has won nine of its last 12 games.
Thompson got off to a fast start, taking down his first five batters. However, in the second, the DFW metroplex native struggled against his next faced batter, Hiro Nakajima, hitting him right on the earflap of his helmet. Nakajima knelt down by the batter's box and had some trainers come over and treat him. Chad Oberacker replaced his teammate at first base and for the rest of the game.
The 'Riders starter faced more trouble in the third frame, walking back-to-back batters with only one out. Thompson, though, followed that up with consecutive strikeouts by sticking to his fastball and slider.
Frisco found its way on the scoreboard in the next half inning with a little help from the RockHounds. Drew Robinson started the frame with a walk followed by a Jake Skole walk two batters later. After Guilder Rodriguez singled softly to left field, Kent Matthes let the ball roll by him and give Robinson the green light to jog home.
Matthes made up for his error in the next half inning by smashing a two-run homer on the very top of the WinStar Diamond Deck in left field to give Midland a 2-1 lead. The RockHounds outfielder has 15 RBI in his last four games.
Thompson saw his night come to a close after the fourth inning. The 20-year-old righty allowed two runs on two hits while striking out five and walking three. Claudio, who has been a starter since being called up from Myrtle Beach, entered in the fifth inning and looked very comfortable in his new role. He also lasted four innings, giving up only one hit and picking up a strikeout.
J.T. Wise hit a solo shot in the seventh to tie the game at two a piece. The former independent ball player has three home runs in his last five games.
Fellow power-hitter Gallo topped Wise's shot with his go-ahead grand slam in the eighth, giving Frisco the 6-2 lead. With the homer, Gallo now leads all of professional baseball with 37 home runs.
Keone Kela took the mound in the ninth and showcased his fastball that keeps gaining velocity as the season moves along. He retired the first two batters with swinging strikeouts and forced Jeremy Barfield into a groundout to give the 'Riders the victory.
The RoughRiders will finish their three-game series with the Midland RockHounds Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Major league rehabber Derek Holland will make his return to Frisco and face right-hander Sean Murphy (4-1, 3.64 ERA). For tickets to see the 'Riders in 2014, call 972-731-9200, e-mail Info@RidersBaseball.com or visit www.ridersbaseball.com.