METAIRIE, Louisiana - Round Rock Express (33-35) 3B Will Middlebrooks blasted a pair of home runs to fuel a narrow 5-4 win over the New Orleans Baby Cakes (23-43) in Friday night's series finale at the Shrine on Airline. The performance was Middlebrooks' first multi-homer game of the season.
E-Train reliever RHP Sam Wolff (1-0, 0.00) earned his first career Triple-A victory after holding the Baby Cakes hitless in 1.2 innings of relief. New Orleans reliver RHP Odrisamer Despaigne (0-3, 3.86) suffered the loss after giving up a go-ahead home run to Middlebrooks in the eighth inning. In total, he allowed just the one run on four hits in 2.1 innings.
For the fourth time in the series, the Express scored the game's first run. Tonight, it was CF Drew Stubbs singling in the first inning before DH Brett Nicholas followed up with a double. Two hitters later, SS Jason Martinson sent Stubbs home with an RBI single.
New Orleans responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame. LF Chad Hinshaw started the rally with a single, then former Round Rock DH Tomas Telis doubled to reset the score at 1-1. A double courtesy of RF Moises Sierra in the very next at-bat scored Telis to put the home team ahead. Baby Cakes 1B Cal Towey added to his team's lead with a solo home run in the fourth inning.
Round Rock then took the lead thanks to a three-run fifth. 2B Drew Robinson opened the inning before promptly stealing second base. An ensuing Nicholas single scored Robinson. Middlebrooks then stepped to the plate and launched his first home run of the night, a two-run shot that gave the E-Train a 4-3 lead.
However, the resilient Baby Cakes leveled the game once again in the bottom of the inning. SS Peter Mooney laced a one-out single to center field prior to a Hinshaw RBI double. The back-and-forth affair continued into the eighth as Middlebrooks led off the inning with his second home run of the night, giving Round Rock a 5-4 edge.
Round Rock closer RHP Preston Claiborne emerged from the bullpen for the ninth inning. The Tulane University alumni tossed a perfect 1-2-3 frame to record his 13th save of the year. Claiborne is now tied for the Pacific Coast League lead in saves and moved into a tie for fifth place on the franchise's all-time single-season saves list.
The Express now return home to open an eight-game homestand. First up, the Memphis Redbirds come to town for a four-game set. Round Rock RHP James Dykstra (0-1, 8.31) is set to make his first start of the year while the Redbirds plan to send LHP Sean Gilmartin (0-0, 0.00) to the mound. First pitch on Saturday night at Dell Diamond is scheduled for 6:05 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.