RockHounds take series opener in Springfield, 9-4

Holmes fans six to earn first Double-A win, 'Hounds record season-high in runs

(Forrest Allen)

By Bob Hards / Midland RockHounds | April 16, 2017 10:11 PM ET

After being shut down in the final two games at Tulsa (a 3-0 shutout and three "scratch" runs in a 6-3 Saturday loss), the RockHounds broke loose against Springfield in a 9-4 Easter Sunday win at Hammons Field.

The 'Hounds took a 3-0 lead in the third on an RBI single from J.P. Sportman and a two-run double from B.J. Boyd, who was in the lineup for the first time on the road trip.

Springfield answered on Nick Martini's two-run monster home run to right in the home half of the third. The two hits in the inning were the only hits allowed by RockHounds starter James Naile, and Martini's homer followed a balk that erased a potential inning-ending double play. Eliezer Alvarez was running on 1-2 pitch to Oscar Mercado, with Naile reacting enough for the balk call. A line drive to shortstop Richie Martin would have been an easy 6-3 double play. Instead, although Mercado struck out, the inning was extended and Martini, on an eight-pitch at bat, made the 'Hounds pay.

The 3-2 score stood until an eighth inning in which the clubs combined for seven runs, five from the RockHounds. Tyler Marincov took Jimmy Reed's first pitch out to left, the solo home run - his second of the season - making the score 4-2.

Video: Midland's Marincov unloads for solo homer

The 'Hounds went on to load the bases with one out, with reliever Pedro Echemendia entering the game. After retiring Jordan Tarsovich, Echemendia surrendered back-to-back two-run singles to Brett Vertigan and Sportman, giving the 'Hounds an 8-2 lead.

A two-run home run off the bat of Mercado brought the Cardinals to within 8-4, but Sam Bragg retired the last four batters of the game.

Naile and Grant Holmes each allowed a two-run home run, but little else. Springfield's four runs came on their first three hits, including the pair of two-run jacks. Holmes was the winner with Bragg earning the save.

Quick Notes:

The RockHounds are 2-2 on their six-game road trip (1-2 at Tulsa before Sunday's win at Springfield).

Grant Holmes' final line shows 3.2 innings, allowing two runs on three hits with one walk and six strikeouts, but his performance in his first three innings (fifth through seventh) was eye-opening. The 21-year-old right-hander faced and retired nine batters - five by strikeout - and was as sharp as those numbers would indicate. The age-old question applies - - does a long inning on the bench sometimes take away a pitcher's edge? After those three innings, Holmes was on the bench for a long time as the RockHounds sent 10 men to the plate, scoring five, in the top of the eighth. He was just slightly less sharp (a walk preceded the two-run homer) after the extended rest.

B.J. Boyd was back in the RockHounds lineup Sunday after a battle with food poisoning that kept him sidelined for the three-game series at Tulsa. He was feeling much better after the game, going 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two RBI.

In the middle game of the three-game set, Monday night at 6:30 p.m. at Hammons Field, right-hander Jack Flaherty will start for the Cardinals against the RockHounds tandem of right-handers Heath Fillmyer (0-0, 4.76 in two starts) and Joel Seddon (1-1, 4.70 in two relief appearances). Flaherty is 2-0, with a 0.66 ERA in two starts. He has allowed just one run on seven hits in 13.2 innings, the lone run scored by the RockHounds in a 2-1 Cardinals win on April 11 at Security Bank Ballpark. In an exhibition start prior to the Texas League opener (in which he shut out Frisco over 6.2 innings), Flaherty pitched four scoreless innings against the St. Louis Cardinals at Hammons Field. The clubs conclude their three-game series with a Tuesday morning game at 11:10 a.m.

Next at home: Following their first road trip of the season, the RockHounds return for a four-game homestand (Thursday, April 20 - Sunday, April 23) at Security Bank Ballpark, hosting the San Antonio Missions (Padres affiliate). The series, which marks the beginning of division play, includes a "Thirsty Thursday," Schedule Pen Giveaway (Friday) and T-Shirt Night (Saturday) before concluding the series with a Sunday (Family Day) matinee. Start times are 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.  

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

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