RockHounds 13, Frisco RoughRiders 3
Sunday, June 9, 2019
Security Bank Ballpark
Last Thursday on RockHounds Radio we noted that when the four-game series between the RockHounds and Frisco was over, the possibilities ranged from the 'Hounds moving to within a half-game of first place (with a sweep) … to bring mathematically eliminated (with a Frisco sweep). Neither seemed likely, but a 13-3 win Sunday afternoon at Security Bank Ballpark gave the 'Hounds a four-game sweep of the first-place RoughRiders and set the stage for one of the most intriguing finishes to a pennant race in recent memory.
When play resumes Tuesday, the four teams of the South Division will be separated by one game … with seven to play … and none of those games head-to-head (all seven will be North-versus-South).
The clubs went back-and-forth early in Sunday's series finale before the RockHounds took a 5-3 lead in the third and never looked back.
Collin Theroux's double and Greg Deichmann's triple in the last of the second produced the game's first run with Deichmann later scoring on a wild pitch to give the 'Hounds a 2-0 lead. Christian Lopes' fly ball to right field, aided by a strong wind, found the short-porch bullpen for a three-run home run in the third, giving the RoughRiders their only lead of the four-game series (3-2).
The RockHounds came right back in the home half of the third, regaining the lead, 5-3, on consecutive singles from Mikey White, Tyler Ramirez, Dairon Blanco and Nate Mondou (RBI) and Collin Theroux's sacrifice fly which was compounded by an error on left fielder Brendon Davis.
Just as Lopes had done in the third (and also with help from Mother Nature), Blanco found the right field bullpen with two men on base, pushing the advantage to 8-3 in the fourth.
Frisco reliever Jairo Beras struggled with his command in the seventh (hit batsman, walk, wild pitch) and catcher Chuck Moorman was charged with three passed balls in a "mess" of an inning for the Riders. After one run scored as the result of the battery miscues, Edwin Diaz (double) and Kevin Merrell (single) each drove in a run and Mikey White capped the inning with a two-run home run, this one a line drive against the wind down the left line.
The Pennant Race
In contrast to the South Division's remarkable four-horse race, the North is a "done deal." Arkansas outslugged the Drillers, 11-7, at Tulsa to claim the first half pennant. The Travelers, who own the league's best record (40-21) lead the Drillers by 8½ games with seven to play.
Entering Tuesday's games, Frisco (32-31) leads Corpus Christi and the RockHounds (both 31-31) by a half-game with Amarillo (30-31) just one game back. The Sod Poodles shut out the Hooks, 6-0, at Corpus Christi Sunday to gain a split of the four-game series.
The only tie possible in the first half race (barring rainouts) would be the RockHounds and Corpus Christi, in which case the first meeting of the second half between the teams (on the Fourth of July at Whataburger Field in Corpus) would serve as the tiebreaker. If Amarillo and Frisco end in a tie in the "games behind the leader" column, the Sod Poodles would have the better winning percentage, having played two fewer games than Frisco.
Five RockHounds had multi-hit games Sunday, led by Tyler Ramirez, who went 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. Mikey White and Dairon Blanco each went 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI (they share the team lead with 33 RBI for the season) … Greg Deichmann went 2-for-3 with a triple, two runs, an RBI and a stolen base (his 12th in 14 attempts) … and Luis Barrera continued his hot streak, going 2-for-5 with a run scored. In his last 10 games, Luis is 19-for-43 (.442) with 14 runs, three doubles, three triples and five RBI.
Monday is a league-wide off day, followed by 13 games of cross-division play.
The first half ends, awkwardly enough, on a travel day … next Monday (June 17).
Brian Howard , who is from St. Louis and grew up a Cardinals fan, will get the start against the Double-A Cardinals Tuesday at Hammons Field in Springfield, Missouri. It's the second such appearance for the 6-9 right-hander, who ranks second in the Texas League with a 2.84 ERA . On July 8 of last season, he took the loss (4-0) but pitched well (in his third AA start), allowing three runs on seven hits over five innings, with no walks and eight strikeouts.
Tuesday, June 11 vs. Springfield Cardinals
Hammons Field Springfield, Missouri
First pitch 6:30 p.m.
- First of a three-game series and a six-game road trip (at Arkansas, June 14-16)
- Radio: NewsTalk 550 with Bob Hards ... airtime 6:20 p.m.
SPR: Austin Warner (LH, 2-5, 4.10)
RH: Brian Howard (RH, 5-2, 2.84)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.