FRISCO, TEXAS (MAY 5, 2014) - A walk-off single to right field by Drew Robinson gave the 'Riders a dramatic 7-6 win and salvaged a game in which Frisco had blown a four-run advantage in the ninth inning.
Robinson, 22, had been mired in a 0-for-25 slump at the plate before delivering the game-winning hit.
Ryan Doolittle (0-2) pitched the ninth inning and suffered the loss for Midland. After Luis Sardinas grounded out to third to open the frame, Doolittle walked Rougned Odor to put a runner on with one away.
Jake Smolinski fisted a ball into shallow right field to advance Odor to third and put the winning run 90 feet from home. The RockHounds proceeded to intentionally walk Tomás Telis to load the bases and bring Ryan Rua to the plate.
Doolittle struck Rua out, and in so doing, ended Rua's bid to extend his on-base streak to 28 games. Midland needed one more out to send the game to extras, a thought that seemed nothing more than a faint possibility at the start of the ninth inning.
The 'Riders led 6-2 when the final inning of regulation commenced. A pitching tandem of Jerad Eickhoff and Phil Klein limited the RockHounds to two hits through the first eight innings and Frisco charged Francisco Mendoza with closing out the opposition.
Mendoza earned his fourth save of the season in game one of the series with Midland, but quickly ran into trouble in his bid for a fifth.
The righty walked the first two batters of the inning, and a triple by Anthony Aliotti scored both runners and made the score 6-4 with no outs.
Jefry Marte grounded out to second for the first out of the ninth, but Aliotti scored to make it a one-run affair. With the bases once again empty, Mendoza still struggled and allowed a double to Dusty Coleman before acting manager Jace Tingler yanked the Dominican from the mound.
The RoughRiders turned to Jimmy Reyes, who recorded the second out of the inning when Chad Oberacker lined to right. However, Hiroyuki Nakajima plopped a base hit into shallow right-center to bring home Coleman and tie the game at six.
Reyes (2-1) became the winning pitcher after Robinson's heroics in the bottom of the ninth. The southpaw allowed no runs (the tying score was charged to Mendoza) on one hit in 2/3 inning of emergency relief.
With the win, Frisco (19-12) is once again a half game behind Midland for first place in the Texas League South Division. The 'Riders also take a 2-1 edge in the series with a final game yet to play.
Midland (19-11) fell to 9-8 on the road and has lost two of three after entering the series on a four-game win streak.
The 'Riders opened the scoring in the third. Trever Adams clanged his fourth home run of the season off the roof of the WinStar Diamond Deck in left field to put the home team up 1-0. It was the first homer for the 'Riders since April 30 and the first for Adams since April 27.
On the mound, Eickhoff made his sixth start of the season. The 23-year-old did not make a mistake through the first three innings and sat down the first ten men he faced.
A walk to Colin Walsh in the fourth proved costly when Aliotti took Eickhoff deep to left for a two-run home run to give the RockHounds a 2-1 lead. Wind gusts exceeded 20 mph and Aliotti's fly ball appeared to float out of the ballpark.
Adams picked up his pitcher in the bottom of the fourth with his second RBI of the night. A single brought home Telis and knotted the game at 2-2.
Eickhoff's only other instance of trouble occurred in the sixth. The righty gave up a ringing double to Beau Taylor to open the frame and tossed a wild pitch to move Taylor to third base.
However, Eickhoff buckled down and retired the next three batters to strand the runner on third base and preserve the 2-2 tie.
Other than the two aforementioned blips, Eickhoff turned in another strong performance. The Indianan lasted seven innings and allowed two runs on two hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
He earned his first Texas League Pitcher of the Week award for April 28-May 4 on the merit of his last start against the San Antonio Missions, in which the 6-foot-4 220 pounder went 7 1/3 innings and registered seven strikeouts.
A three-run home run by Rougned Odor broke the 2-2 tie in the fifth. It was the first three-run home run of the season for the 'Riders, who scored more than four runs for the first time since April 29.
One inning later, Frisco added an insurance run of critical importance when Adams picked up his fourth base hit of the night on a double to left. The righty finished a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate with a run and three driven in.
Rua, who had reached base on a fielder's choice and thus did not add to his on-base streak, scored from first to put the 'Riders up 6-2.
It was a run the 'Riders desperately needed when the RockHounds rallied in a wild ninth inning.
The RoughRiders go for a win in their series with the RockHounds on Tuesday morning at 11:05 a.m. Coverage begins live on www.ridersbaseball.com at 10:40 a.m. with the Frisco RoughRiders Pregame Show.
For tickets to see the 'Riders in 2014, call 972-731-9200, e-mail Info@RidersBaseball.com or visit www.ridersbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.