OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The Round Rock Express (9-6) split tonight's double header with the Oklahoma City RedHawks (7-7). The RedHawks took game one after the Express attempted a comeback, but Round Rock ran away with game two from Oklahoma City.
The RedHawks started the scoring in game one when first baseman Marc Krauss led off the second with a single followed by a double down the left field line by Jonathan Villar. With runners on second and third, left fielder Che-Hsuan Lin lined a 0-1 pitch from Express starter Randy Wells into right field to plate both runners and give Oklahoma City an early 2-0 lead.
The Express offense answered immediately in the top of the third after left fielder Aaron Cunningham was hit by a pitch to start the inning. That would be the last batter that RedHawk starter Travis Blackley would face as Jose Cisnero replaced him. After recording the first out of the inning, Cisnero walked second baseman Greg Miclat on four pitches. Center fielder Engel Beltre followed with a single to center that scored Cunningham for the first Round Rock run.
The E-Train knotted the score at two after shortstop Jurickson Profar's ball to right fielder Fernando Martinez was unable to be handled, allowing Miclat to score from second. Cisnero would later load the bases, but forced catcher Robinson Chirinos to fly out to center, ending the Round Rock half of the third inning.
Oklahoma City responded again in the bottom of the frame with two more runs, both with two outs. Designated hitter Trevor Crowe doubled to begin the inning and later stole third, but back-to-back strikeouts gave Wells a chance to get out of the inning with no damage done. Krauss had other plans as he added his second hit of the game on a RBI double into right field and later scored on a single by Villar, giving the RedHawks a 4-2 advantage.
The score would remain the same until the sixth when the Express got back on the board. Third baseman Yangervis Solarte grounded into a double play with runners on the corners and no outs, but the play scored designated hitter Joey Butler from third cutting the Oklahoma City lead to 4-3.
The RedHawks picked up an insurance run in the sixth and denied Round Rock's rally in the seventh, closing the abbreviated game one of the doubleheader with a 5-3 victory. Jose Valdez earned his third save after striking out right fielder Jim Adduci with two on and two outs in the top of the seventh. Cisnero picked up the win, while Wells was charged with his third loss. Wells finished the game allowing four runs on eight hits over 5.0 innings and struck out five.
In game two, Oklahoma City got to Round Rock starter Richard Bleier in the first frame. With two outs, left fielder Trevor Crowe singled to right-center and immediately stole second. He came around to score on a single by first baseman Marc Krauss.
The Express answered back in the top of the second with two runs. Mike Olt, who didn't start game one, hit a single up the middle followed by a double off the bat of Chris McGuiness. For Olt, that was just his third hit in 28 at-bats. A sac-fly by catcher Jose Felix scored Olt and advanced McGuiness who came around to score on a single by Beltre.
Round Rock threatened again in the top of the fourth after Oklahoma City starter Rudy Owens intentionally walked Cunningham to load the bases for Adduci with two outs. He lined out to Jonathan Villar, allowing Owens to escape unscathed.
The Express chased Owens from the game in the fifth, replaced by reliever Kyle Hollock. He allowed a leadoff walk to Butler, who came around to score two batters later on a single by Olt, giving the Express a 3-1 lead.
Round Rock reliever Neal Cotts came in in the bottom of the inning for Bleier, who was making a spot start out of the bullpen. Bleier went 4.0 innings and gave up just one run on six hits. He didn't allow a walk and struck out two batters.
The Express tacked on five runs in the final inning of the game, an inning that featured all nine Round Rock batters. Adduci led with a walk and advanced to second on a single by Butler. A wild pitch by reliever Eric Burger advanced both runners. Olt was intentionally walked to load the bases for McGuiness who hit a grand slam already this season. McGuiness drew a walk in six pitches to score Adduci. Felix singled followed by a double from Miclat to score four more runs and put the Express up 8-1 going into the bottom of the seventh.
Round Rock went to the bullpen for one of their closers in Evan Meek to finish the game. Meek gave up a lead-off single followed by a wild pitch to put a runner in scoring position for Oklahoma City. Catcher Jason Jaramillo singled followed by a walk to load the bases. Meek hit Jake Elmore with a pitch to score a run, the first run and hit batter for the righty in 2013. Meek struck out the next batter to get the first out of the inning, but walked the next two batters to put the tying run at the plate. RHP Cory Burns replaced Meek and struck out the next two batters to end the game and give the Express the victory.
Cotts picked up the win to improve to 1-1 and Burns got his fourth save on the year. Oklahoma City starter Owens took the loss to drop him to 0-2. Butler went 2-for-2 on the night with two walks and two runs. Miclat finished 2-for-4 with three RBI, his first multi-RBI game of the season.
With the eight runs scored in game two, fans will now be able to receive half price pizza today courtesy of the Papa Johns' "No. 7 Express" promotion by using the promo code EXPRESS7.
Round Rock will conclude the four-game series against Oklahoma City tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. when the Express send RHP Collin Balester (1-1, 4.38 ERA) to the mound. He will be opposed by RedHawk starter Jordan Lyles (1-1, 4.85 ERA). The E-Train will then return to Dell Diamond to start an eight-game, nine-day homestand which will include the New Orleans Zephyrs (April 20-23) and the Albuquerque Isotopes (April 25-28). For tickets and more information, 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.