ROUND ROCK, Texas - After being swept in the first of back-to-back doubleheaders with the Memphis Redbirds (60-57) on Sunday, the Round Rock Express (61-56) returned the favor Monday, taking both games from the Redbirds 5-4 and 6-3 at Dell Diamond.
In game one, the E-Train rallied to force extra innings before C Geovany Soto ended the game with one swing of the bat. With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Soto sent a 3-2 offering from Redbirds LHP Pedro Feliciano (1-4, 5.57 ERA) sailing over the left field wall to give the Express their fifth walk-off win of the season. The homer was the first of the year for Soto, who is currently rehabbing a strained groin sustained two weeks ago while playing the New York Yankees.
Round Rock had to dig deep to get the point where Soto ended it, however, as the Redbirds jumped Texas Rangers rehabber LHP Derek Holland for four runs in the first. With two on and two out, LF Scott Moore cashed in big on a 3-2 mistake made by Holland, taking the left-hander deep to left for his 14th home run of the season. C Audry Perez followed suit, going yard in the following at-bat for his fourth on the campaign to give Memphis a 4-0 lead.
The score remained until the sixth when DH Tomas Telis and Soto delivered back-to-back RBI doubles to cut the E-Train's deficit in half at 4-2.
In the seventh, 2B Jason Donald and SS Luis Sardinas got things cooking with a pair of one-out singles, then moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. After a strikeout, CF Jared Hoying came through when his club needed him most, stroking a two-out, two-run back through the box to send the game into extras tied 4-4.
RHP Lisalverto Bonilla (3-1, 4.50 ERA) earned the win after pitching four scoreless innings of relief, striking out two and walking two. LHP Jimmy Reyes also had a nice game out of the bullpen, tossing three scoreless frames ahead of Bonilla.
In game two, Round Rock came out swinging, going for three runs in the second. LF Ryan Rua laced a leadoff base hit into left field and was then sacrificed to second by Telis. 1B Brett Nicholas then scored Rua with a base knock to right. After a strikeout, RF Bryan Petersen turned on the first pitch he saw from LHP Nick Greenwood (4-4, 3.08 ERA), sending it over the wall in right to give the home team a 3-0 advantage. Petersen now has 12 dingers this season.
The Express added another run in the fifth on a RBI double by 2B Brent Lillibridge. Nicholas singled to right with one out in the inning and Lillibridge brought him home with a drive into the left-center field gap.
Redbirds CF Tommy Pham put his club on the board with a solo shot in the fifth, only to be one-upped by the E-Train in the home half of the inning. Sardinas led off with a triple to right-center. After a walk issued to DH Michael Choice, Hoying brought Sardinas home with a sacrifice fly to center. Rua then doubled down the left field line to plate Choice and stretch Round Rock's lead out to 6-1.
Memphis pulled to within 6-3 in the seventh on a two-run single by 1B Xavier Scruggs, but would come no closer.
Express RHP Ben Rowen (3-0, 3.18 ERA), who took over for starting pitcher RHP Phil Irwin in the fourth, allowed three runs on eight hits over the final 3.1 innings to earn the victory. Irwin gave up just three hits in 3.2 innings of work, while striking out four and walking two.
The Express and Redbirds will play the sixth and final game of their series Tuesday at Dell Diamond. Round Rock LHP Edwar Cabrera (1-1, 5.40 ERA) is scheduled to take the ball against Memphis LHP John Gast (3-2, 5.04 ERA) in the finale. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. as A+ Federal Credit Union presents half-price tickets.
For more information on the Express, visit www.RoundRockExpress.com or call (512) 255-2255. Keep up with the Express on Facebook and Twitter!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.