'Hounds Push the Paz Button on Red-Hot RoughRiders

RockHounds edge first-place Frisco, 4-3

RockHounds first baseman Ryon Healy hit his seventh home run of the season in Saturday night's 4-3 win over the Frisco RoughRiders at Dr Pepper Ballpark. (Shawn E. Davis)

By Bob Hards / Midland RockHounds | May 8, 2016 12:29 AM

Since joining the RockHounds from (Advanced-A) Stockton in late April (replacing the injured Carson Blair), Andy Paz had played in just two games. Saturday night, he was shoulder-to-shoulder with one of the league's top players in leading the 'Hounds to a 4-3 win in the opener of a four-game series with the league's best team, the Frisco RoughRiders.

Both Paz and Ryon Healy both homered, driving in three of the club's four runs. Healy's two-run drive to left-center put the 'Hounds on top, 3-2, in the fifth. After Lewis Brinson tied the game with a solo shot in the sixth, Paz produced what would become the game-winning run with a solo line drive home run to left in the seventh inning. 

Aaron Kurcz earned his fourth save in five opportunities with two scoreless innings (his ERA dropped to 1.26 in the process).

Paz and Healy also contributed to an outstanding defensive performance. Healy had 15 putouts and four assists with multiple key efforts including a 3-6-3 double play that ended the game. Paz blocked a number of pitches with runners at third base over the course of the game and made a terrific catch, block and tag at the plate in the fifth. Andy took J.P. Sportman's throw from left on a single by Garrett Weber and tagged Alberto Triunfel out, denying what would have been the tying run. 

The defensive effort also included (another) brilliant play from third baseman Matt Chapman, who made a diving stop on Zach Cone's would-be double down the line. Chappy's strong throw completed the play and would save a run, as the Riders followed with three consecutive singles (the last of them the play on which Sportman and Paz combined to throw out Triunfel).

The RockHounds

…  are 18-11 (10-4 at Security Bank Ballpark and 8-7 on the road) … have won eight of their last 11 ... won the opener of a four-game series (and the first meeting of the year) with the Frisco RoughRiders.  

…  move to within 3.5 games of the first-place Riders in the Texas League South Division. Corpus Christi climbed to within seven of Frisco with a 2-0 win over San Antonio at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi. The game's only two runs scored on a two-run home run from Evan Gattis, who is with the Hooks on a Major League rehabilitation assignment. San Antonio stays 12.5 games in back of Frisco in the South.

... continue their eight-game, nine-day road trip on Sunday afternoon in Frisco against the first-place RoughRiders (first pitch is at 4:05 p.m.). The four-game series runs through Tuesday (May 10) and is followed by an off day Wednesday (the only day off in a 39-day stretch of the Texas League schedule) and a four-game set against the Missions in San Antonio (Thursday-Sunday, May 12-15). 

Kibbles & Bits

MILESTONE  The RockHounds' next win will making the franchise just the ninth in Texas League history to win 3,000 (or more) games. The franchise (Cubs-Angels-RockHounds) stands at 2,999 wins, ninth all-time (two ahead of El Paso). 

-    Viosergy Rosa extended his on-base streak to 16 games (19-for-59, .322 average with a .464 OBP) and has hit in six straight games (10-for-28, .357). 

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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