ROUND ROCK, Texas - The Round Rock Express (63-73) claimed a 9-3 victory over the Memphis Redbirds (81-55) in Thursday night's series finale at Dell Diamond. Round Rock C Juan Centeno went 3-4 with two singles and a double while driving in four runs, matching his season-high for hits and RBI in a game.
Express RHP Richelson Pena (4-2, 4.56) earned the win after spinning 4.0 innings of solid relief. The right-hander allowed one run on five hits while striking out three and walking none. Starter RHP Chris Tillman also lasted 4.0 frames, surrendering two runs, both earned, on two hits and a pair of walks. For Memphis, starter RHP Kevin Herget (9-11, 4.61) took the loss after permitting nine runs, six of them earned, on 12 hits and a walk.
Round Rock's offense put on a show in their home finale, plating seven unanswered runs in the first two innings of play. RF Christian Lopes led off the bottom of the first with a single to right before advancing to third on a base hit by DH Willie Calhoun . With runners on the corners, 1B Tommy Joseph singled on a hard-hit ball up the middle to put the E-Train ahead 1-0. The next batter, 3B Andy Ibanez , worked a walk to load the bases, setting up an RBI single from Centeno. After SS Cliff Pennington added a sacrifice fly and 2B Nick Noonan drove another run home on a single, the Express found themselves comfortably ahead at 4-0.
In the bottom of the second, Round Rock would put ducks on the pond once more after Calhoun and Joseph reached on consecutive singles before Ibanez climbed aboard on an error. With two outs, Centeno rocked a bases-clearing double into the right-center gap to make it 7-0.
The Redbirds showed signs of life in the third, putting a run on the board as they narrowed the gap to 7-1. SS Edmundo Sosa led off the side with a four-pitch walk and moved up a base on a wild pitch by Tillman. LF Wilfredo Tovar singled to move Sosa up to third for RF Rangel Ravelo , who lifted a sacrifice fly to right. In the following inning, Memphis CF Lane Thomas connected on his second homer in as many games, a solo shot to left that cut the deficit to 7-2.
The Express attacked the right-center gap again in the bottom of the fifth, stretching their lead to 9-2. Centeno smacked a leadoff single to center for his third hit of the night. Two batters later, Noonan put runners on first and second with a single of his own. CF Nick Torres then punched a line drive to the wall for a two-run double, his second two-bagger of the season.
Pena surrendered his only run in the top of the seventh when 'Birds 2B Tommy Edman tripled to center and scored on a single by Ravelo. The run-scoring knock would go down as the final offensive output mustered by either team, solidifying the 9-3 final score and a 2-1 series win for the E-Train
Round Rock finishes the season with a 30-40 record at home, with tonight's matchup with Memphis marking the E-Train's final stop at Dell Diamond this year.
The Express will round out their 2018 campaign with a four-game series against the Iowa Cubs at Principal Park in Des Moines, IA. Round Rock RHP Chris Rowley (2-3, 3.03) is set to get the starting nod in game one on Friday night against Iowa RHP Tyler Chatwood (0-0, 4.15). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CDT.
For more information on the Express, visit RoundRockExpress.com or call (512) 255-2255. Keep up with the Express on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.