NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Round Rock Express (61-59) were swept in their doubleheader with the Nashville Sounds (64-56) on Friday night, dropping the first game 4-2 before falling in the nightcap 2-1 at Greer Stadium.
Round Rock, which entered the game just one game out of first place, now trails Nashville by three games in the PCL American Southern Division standings.
In game one, the two-run home run was a double-edged sword for the Express, saving them late before ultimately serving as their demise.
Despite being shutout through the first six innings, Round Rock entered the seventh down just 1-0. With one out, 3B Ryan Rua laced a single into left field, prompting Nashville to pull starting pitcher Michael Blazek from the game. RHP Alfredo Figaro (5-2, 3.99 ERA) entered for the Sounds and, after missing the zone with his first two offerings, served up a two-run, game-altering blast to Express 1B Tomas Telis. The go-ahead homer, which sailed over the left field wall, instantaneously transforming the E-Train's one-run deficit into a one-run advantage, was Telis's first career Triple-A home-run.
Unfortunately for Round Rock, Telis would not be the only player to amass a four-base hit of the two-run variety in game one.
Nashville 3B Jason Rogers led off the home half of the seventh with a single to right and was quickly supplanted by Kevin Mattison on the base paths. DH Sean Halton followed with another single to right. On the hit, the pinch-runner Mattison attempted to advance all the way to third, drawing an errant throw from RF Bryan Petersen. When the throw bounded away, Mattison trotted home with the tying run. 1B Matt Clark then brought game one to a close, taking three straight balls from Round Rock's starting pitcher Robbie Ross Jr. before hammering a two-run, walk-off home run to right field to give Nashville a 4-2 victory.
Ross Jr. (4-4, 5.10 ERA) saw his consecutive quality start streak come to an end at four games. The Express left-hander allowed four runs on ten hits, while striking out three and walking none.
In game two of the twin bill, Nashville's pitching staff proved to be much for the E-Train.
The Sounds scored the only two runs they would need in the fifth. Game one's hero Clark led off with a walk then advanced to second with a single by 2B Irving Falu. After Round Rock starter LHP Alex Claudio walked Adam Weisenburger to load the bases, CF Logan Schafer smoke a two-run single into left field to give the home team a 2-0 advantage.
Round Rock cut their deficit to one in the sixth, but would draw no closer. With two outs, Rua worked a walk to extend the inning and advanced to third on a base hit by Telis. Then, with 1B Brett Nicholas batting, pitcher Brent Leach threw wide of first base on a pickoff attempt, allowing Rua to score from third to make it 2-1.
Claudio (0-1, 4.15 ERA) took the loss in his Express debut after giving up two runs on five hits in 4.1 innings of work. He struck out five and walked two.
The Express and Sounds will continue their series Saturday night at Greer Stadium. Round Rock RHP Luke Jackson (1-0, 6.58 ERA) is slated to take the ball in game three against Nashville RHP Taylor Jungmann (5-5, 4.90 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.
Listen to the game live on 104.9 The Horn or at hornfm.com. For more information on the Express, visit www.RoundRockExpress.com or call (512) 255-2255. Keep up with the Express on Facebook and Twitter!