RockHounds 3, Frisco RoughRiders 1
Saturday, June 8, 2019
Security Bank Ballpark
In our pregame introduction Saturday on RockHounds Radio, we asked the question "... as interesting as the Texas League has become over the last two days, could it become even more intriguing?" The answer is yes.
Thanks to an outstanding start from Matt Milburn, a three-run third inning was enough as the RockHounds defeated the division-leading Frisco RoughRiders, 3-1, Saturday night at Security Bank Ballpark.
Greg Deichmann broke a scoreless tie with his seventh home run of the season, a short-porch fly ball into the right field bullpen in the last of the third. Edwin Diaz then snapped out of a 3-for-40 slump with a single to left (and a stolen base) and Luis Barrera followed with his third triple in two games, a line drive to right-center, scoring Diaz. Mikey White's sacrifice fly capped the inning as the 'Hounds took a 3-0 lead.
Frisco's first two batters of the game reached on singles (Christian Lopes and a would-be sacrifice bunt from Preston Beck that was "too good" and went for a base hit) but Milburn struck out Juremi Profar, Andretty Cordero and Charles Leblanc to shut down the rally. Beginning with the strikeout of Profar, Milburn retired 14 batters in-a-row.
Frisco got back-to-back two-out singles in the fifth, but Milburn got Lopes to fly out to end the inning. An around-the-horn double play helped him keep Frisco off the board in the sixth, but the RoughRiders broke up the shutout with an unearned run on Michael D Leon's RBI double in the seventh (an error by shortstop Kevin Merrell opened the door).
With closer Kyle Finnegan having been promoted to (Triple-A) Las Vegas (see below), Zack Erwin got the call to close the game. The left-hander gave up a leadoff double to Josh Altmann and a walk to Eliezer Alvarez before retiring the next three batters, slamming the door with a strikeout of Lopes.
The win was RockHounds' third straight over the first-place RoughRiders and the club's fifth in-a-row overall.
The Pennant Race
While the 'Hounds took their third straight from the division-leading RoughRiders, Corpus Christi shut out Amarillo, 1-0, at Whataburger Field.
The four clubs in the Texas League South Division are now separated by just two games with eight (8) to play. Sunday is the last day of play within the division in the first half (the final seven games will be North-versus-South).
Frisco (32-30) leads Corpus Christi (31-30) by a half-game while the RockHounds (30-31) move into third place, just a game-and-a-half back. Amarillo (29-31), which opened the week in a first place tie with Frisco, is now fourth, but the Sod Poodles are only two games out.
Matt Milburn's start was, without question, the best of his first Double-A season. The right-hander went eight innings and allowed one run (unearned) on eight hits. He did not walk a batter and matched his season high with six strikeouts (including the three-in-a-row with two on and no outs in the top of the first).
It's from our "Department of Redundancy Department," but ... let's review. After his first at-bat eight days ago (Friday, May 31), Luis Barrera was mired in a 2-for-23 slump. Including that game, Luis is 17-for-38 (.447) in his last nine with 13 runs, three doubles, three triples and five RBI.
Luis tripled three times in 10 innings (Friday/Saturday) and Mikey white drove him in each time. The triples (and three runs) came in games in which the RockHounds won by scores of 3-2 and 3-1, so they were as critical as they are statistically "cool."
Greg Deichmann and Edwin Diaz each broke out of slumps Saturday. Greg's home run snapped a 3-for-26 (and 6-for-55( stretch while Edwin entered Saturday's game 3-for-his-last-40 and went 2-for-3 (plus a steal).
Kyle Finnegan has received a well-deserved promotion to (AAA) Las Vegas. The RockHounds' closer leads the league with eighth saves and posted a 1.86 ERA.
From the "what if" category - - when the 'Hounds went 1-6 on a recent road trip, they led entering the eighth inning in five of the eventual losses. Kyle was on the IL for that entire trip. Where might the RockHounds be in the standings if he had been available?
With the unfortunate injury to Oakland catcher Nick Hundley , the "trickle up" factor is in play. Former RockHound (and one of our favorites) Beau Taylor is back with the A's in the Show and Jonah Heim has been promoted to Las Vegas. Cooper Goldby will join the RockHounds from (A) Beloit and will back up Collin Theroux behind the dish.
Sunday, June 9 vs. Frisco RoughRiders
Security Bank Ballpark 2:00 p.m. (Gates open 1:30)
- Final of a four-game series and homestand
- Radio: NewsTalk 550 with Bob Hards ... airtime 1:47 p.m.
FRI: Richelson Peña (RH, 0-1, 4.00)
RH: James Naile (RH, 3-4, 6.08)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.