RockHounds Rally to Win 2018 Season Opener

By Bob Hards / Midland RockHounds | April 6, 2018 12:33 AM


Thursday, April 5, 2018          Security Bank Ballpark


If Thursday night's season opener was an omen, you'd be advised to "buckle up" for the 2018 Texas League campaign.


The RockHounds scored twice in the last of the eighth, erasing a 5-4 deficit, and denied a Springfield ninth-inning threat that put the tying run at third base.


Sean Murphy went 3-for-4, scoring two runs and driving in another - - one of four players to collect three hits on opening night. His single with one out in the eighth inning, which came on an 0-2 pitch (and after fouling off two pitches) started the two-run, game-winning rally. He singled against Chris Ellis (who then left the game having allowed just two hits in 3 1/3 innings) Brett Siddall singled up the middle (also with a two-strike count) against Jacob Evans with Murphy hustling to third. Mikey White's sacrifice fly to left brought Murphy home with the game-tying run and J.P. Sportman singled (on a 2-2 pitch) to extend the rally. Skye Bolt then ripped a double over the head of left fielder Thomas Spitz to bring in pinch runner Brett Vertigan with the game-winning run.


Spitz led off the ninth with a single and reached third with two out. J.B. Wendelken then struck out Andrew Knizner on an eight-pitch at bat to end the game.


The 'Hounds scored twice in the first on RBI from Murphy and Seth Brown, but Springfield rallied back in the top of fourth on back-to-back home runs from Knizner and (former RockHound) John Nogowski, tying the game at 2-2. The 'Hounds came right back with two of their own in the home half of the fourth and the game was either tied or a one-run contest the rest of the way.


Team                    R   H   E    LOB

Springfield Cardinals 5     12     0       7                     

RockHounds         6   12   0       8                  


Win  Sam Bragg (1-0, 0.00)

Loss Jacob Evans      (0-1, 27.00)

Save J.B. Wendelken (1, 0.00)


Home Runs                                                       

SPR: Andrew Knizner (1) Solo in the fourth, off Joel Seddon ... John Nogowski (1) Solo in the fourth, off Joel Seddon

RCK:   None



Sean Murphy's tremendous night included two plays that do not show up in the box score. He went from first-to-third on Brett Siddall's eighth-inning single, getting to third with one out before scoring on Mikey White's sac fly. Sean then made a tremendous block on a pitch in the dirt with the tying run at third in the top of the ninth, moments before J.B. Wendelken struck out Knizner to end the game.


Seven of the nine RockHounds starters either scored a run, drove in a run or both. The other two (Tyler Marincov in the first and J.P. Sportman in the eighth) had hits that directly led to runs scoring.


All five RockHounds starters who were playing in their first Double-A game contributed directly to the win: Seth Brown drove in the game's first run ... Eli White had a three-hit game (see below) ... Brett Siddall went 2-for-4 with a run a double and an RBI ... Mikey White (1-for-3) drove in the game-tying run with a sac fly in the eighth and Skye Bolt had the game-winner with a rocket of a double minutes later.



Four players opened the season with three-hit games:

Springfield's John Nogowski (3-for-4, 2 R, double, HR, 2 RBI) and Tommy Edman (3-for-4, R, RBI).

The RockHounds' Sean Murphy (3-for-4, 2 R, double, RBI) and Eli White (3-for-5, R, RBI).


Next Game                                                    

Friday, April 6              vs. Springfield Cardinals

Security Bank Ballpark           7:00 p.m. (Gates open at 6:00)


Second of a three-game series and six-game homestand

Replica Championship Rings & Schedule Magnets ... first 1,000 fans


Radio: NewsTalk 550 at 6:47 with Bob Hards


Probable Starters                                        

SPR: Ryan Helsley (RH)

RCK:   Corey Walter (RH)

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

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