ROUND ROCK, Texas - The Oklahoma City Dodgers (72-66) opened the final series of the 2017 season with a 6-5 victory over the Round Rock Express (63-72) on Friday night at Dell Diamond. The E-Train scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning but couldn't complete the comeback.
Express RHP James Dykstra (2-9, 7.33) suffered the loss after giving up four runs on seven hits and three walks in 5.1 innings of work. Former Round Rock and current Oklahoma City RHP Eddie Gamboa (8-7, 6.17) picked up the win after holding the E-Train to one run on five hits in six solid innings.
Round Rock scored the game's first run in the second inning. E-Train LF Ryan Rua and 1B Ronald Guzman notched back-to-back singles to open the frame. Two hitters later, RF Preston Beck grounded to 1B Edwin Rios , who threw to SS Charlie Culberson to force out Guzman at second base. Culberson then threw an errant relay throw to Gamboa covering first, leaving time for Rua to race home and give Round Rock a 1-0 lead on the error.
However, OKC responded with one swing of the bat in the fourth inning. Rios opened the frame with a double prior to a Kyle Farmer single. Two hitters later, DH Max Muncy stepped to the plate and blasted a three-run shot to left field, giving the Dodgers a 3-1 advantage.
Rios opened the sixth inning with a walk, then Farmer followed up with a single. In the next at-bat, RF Trayce Thompson lined a shot to 3B Brett Hayes , who elected to throw home. Rios slid past the plate and was promptly tagged out by C Kevin Torres . Muncy walked in the next at-bat to load the bases. C Bobby Wilson then grounded out, scoring Farmer to push the gap to 4-1.
An inning later, OKC LF Joc Pederson manufactured a one-out walk. CF Henry Ramos then struck out but advanced to first base on a wild pitch. Following a Rios walk, Farmer singled home a pair of runs, giving the Dodgers a 6-1 advantage.
Round Rock attempted a furious comeback in the eighth inning. In his Triple-A debut, CF Jose Cardona opened the frame with a walk, then SS Jurickson Profar followed up with a single. After a Jordan Jankowski wild pitch, DH Willie Calhoun doubled home a pair of runs to trim the deficit to 6-3. Rua and Guzman then worked back-to-back walks to load the bases.
With RHP Dylan Floro on to relieve Jankowski, Hayes grounded into a fielder's choice that eliminated Calhoun at the plate. 2B Phil Gosselin then recorded a clutch two-out, two-run single to bring the Express within one. However, Floro returned for the ninth inning, retiring the side in order, preserving a 6-5 win for Oklahoma City.
The two American Conference foes meet again on Saturday night. Dodgers RHP Madison Younginer (4-5, 4.58) is set to face RH Tyler Wagner (3-11, 6.28). First pitch at Dell Diamond is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.