FRISCO, TEXAS (June 6, 2014) - The Frisco RoughRiders were firing on all cylinders for almost the entirety of their 8-0 victory over the San Antonio Missions Friday night at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
Losing back-to-back games earlier in the week, the 'Riders (36-23) have now won three games in a row and are 13 games above .500 for the first time this season. The batters have been making a concerted effort to be aggressive at the plate, not letting many hittable pitches get by them.
The Missions (30-30) are back down to .500 as the first half of the season comes closer to an end. San Antonio just couldn't seem to get anything going offensively Friday and ended the night with only four hits against the Riders pitchers.
Alec Asher (6-4) was the biggest problem for the Missions as the 'Riders righty showcased his best game of the year. Asher, 22, filled up the strike zone with an array of pitches and had an exceptional rhythm San Antonio just couldn't break. Through seven innings pitched, he only gave up a pair of hits with no walks and four strikeouts.
For the Missions, starter Matt Branham (4-2) allowed too many of his sinkers and sliders to stay up in the zone, and it wasn't long before the 'Riders took advantage of this issue.
It was a quick first inning for both teams before a bevvy of singles from Frisco unlocked the gates and opened them up for good. After Branham walked Ryan Rua, Drew Robinson squeezed one up the middle of the field to put two men on. Trever Adams knocked a high hit RBI single to shallow left field that Brian Bixler almost handled right before Odubel Herrera used a bloop single to put the 'Riders up 2-0. Two more singles from Guilder Rodriguez and Patrick Cantwell increased the lead to 4-0 as the inning came to a close.
After another 1-2-3 inning from Asher, Jake Smolinksi rocketed a solo home run deep to dead center field in the bottom of the third. Fellow slugger Rua took the team lead in homers during Thursday's win, but Smolinski tied him Friday with his 10th homer.
Asher had retired 12 straight batters going into the top of the fifth inning and took care of his first two batters with a strikeout and soft pop fly. The Missions finally obtained their first hit of the game when catcher Austin Hedges lined one off the glove of Rodriguez. The 'Riders shortstop veteran redeemed himself a couple of pitches later by using a fielder's choice to close out the frame.
Branham seemed to have made the correct adjustments following Smolinski's home run and even retired six straight over the fourth and fifth inning. The RoughRiders, though, would once again use singles to create an insurmountable lead.
Adams has been on a tear since returning from the disabled list, and in the sixth, he notched the 'Riders only extra-base hit of the game besides Smolinski's homer. Showing off his quick hands, Odubel Herrera picked up his second hit of the night to put runners on the corners. Another pair of singles made the score 7-0 and caused Branham's night to come to a close. The Missions righty gave up 13 hits and eight earned runs with a strikeout and a couple of walks.
Missions relief pitcher Leonel Campos didn't fare much better during his time on the mound and let another single, this time by Tomas Telis, give the 'Riders an 8-0 lead.
Keone Kela took care of the eighth inning followed by Jon Edwards allowing two hits in the ninth before closing out the series with a win.
The RoughRiders will begin a crucial series with the Midland RockHounds Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Frisco lefty Edwar Cabrera (2-2, 3.10 ERA) will take the hill against right-hander Zach Neal (1-0, 1.17 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.