FRISCO, TEXAS (June 5, 2014) - The Frisco RoughRiders used a big fourth and fifth inning to stave off the San Antonio Missions Thursday night at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
With the win, Frisco (35-23) stays atop the south division in the Texas League and leads the Midland RockHounds by 3 1/2 games with 11 games left in the first half of the season. The Missions (30-28) continue to slide down the standings and are now an even .500 (15-15) on the road.
Jimmy Reyes (3-2) only pitched 1 2/3 innings but made the most of them in picking up the win. He only allowed one hit and used a 1-2-3 eighth frame to keep the Missions at bay.
Pitching in the sixth and the seventh, Luis De La Cruz (1-5) struggled to get the elusive third out in his first inning of work and was the losing pitcher because of it. De La Cruz only trails Josh Geer, who started Wednesday night against the 'Riders, for most losses for San Antonio.
After giving up some early hits, starters Ryan Bores and John Hussey found their respective grooves as the game moved along. Each pitcher had a 1-2-3 perfect inning in the second and Bores specifically showed some quality breaking balls over the course of the second and third in which he struck out three of six batters.
The gates swung wide open in the middle of the game with all nine runs taking place between the bottom of the fourth and the bottom of the sixth.
Ryan Rua has been one of the most consistent 'Riders at the plate this season, and he bolstered that notion in his second appearance at the plate. After Jake Smolinski hit a single into center field and Tomas Telis flied out into the outfield, Frisco's 24-year-old designated hitter launched one to the right of the Dr Pepper Patio to pass Smolinski for the team lead in home runs (10). As is so often the case directly following a long ball, San Antonio's right-handed pitcher walked his next batter but found a way to get out of the fourth frame only down 2-0.
Bores saw his night come to end after four when Ryan Rodebaugh took the hill to start the fifth. Even though he has predominantly been slotted in the outfield for Frisco so far, Drew Robinson showed his versatility at third base and looked natural playing closer in. The 6-1, 200 pounder fired one to first baseman Trever Adams for Rodebaugh's first out. The next batter at the plate, Adam Buschini, cut the deficit to 2-1 with a homer of his own.
A wild fielding sequence from Missions Rymer Liriano aided the 'Riders in bringing a few more teammates home. Hussey showed fatigue in the fifth inning and loaded the bases with Smolinski walking up to the plate. The 22-year-old 'Rider knocked his sixth faced pitch high to shallow left field, causing San Antonio's left outfielder to sprint towards the infield dirt. Liriano, though, dropped the pop out and made the situation worse by overthrowing third base. Two 'Riders were brought home and Smolinski earned his 33rd RBI once the dust settled.
Frisco held a 4-1 lead going into the top of the sixth but that wouldn't last long. Riders pitcher Kyle Lotzkar came out of the bullpen to start the sixth inning but did not look comfortable on the mound. With two men on, Liriano redeemed himself by showing his strength at the plate and smashing a bomb out of the ballpark to tie the game at four a piece. Just as Hussey did in the fourth, Lotzkar walked the next Mission but finally shedded his command issues. The righty reliever struck out his final two batters with a man waiting to come home at third base and kept the score even.
The 'Riders didn't waste time in retaking the lead. Two outs into the bottom of the fifth, Trever Adams, who was just claimed off the disabled list, used a patient at-bat to earn an RBI single and put his team back in front 5-4.
Jimmy Reyes took care of the last two outs of the seventh inning along with all three in the eighth before Phil Klein had his name called to close out the match. He did just that by staying seven for seven in save situations and reducing the 'Riders magic number to eight.
The RoughRiders and Missions will play the final game of the series Friday at 7:05 p.m. at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Frisco righty Alec Asher (5-4, 3.64 ERA) will attempt to give Frisco its third straight win and take on fellow right-hander Matt Branham (4-1, 3.22 ERA). 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.