EL PASO, Texas- The Round Rock Express (69-46) fell 15-12 at the hands of the El Paso Chihuahuas (67-50) on Friday night at Southwest University Park. El Paso used a 10-run ninth inning to complete an unlikely comeback and serve Round Rock their lone loss of the series.
In a game of unusual occurrences, Matthew Batten (1-0, 3.60), in infielder by trade, found himself on the Chihuahuas hill. Batten ultimately earned the win after a hitless ninth inning of work. On the losing side, RHP Brendan McCurry (3-2, 3.57) surrendered three runs on two hits before recording an out.
Round Rock proved to be dominant from the start as eight E-Train batters made a plate appearance in the frame. 2B Abraham Toro and 3B Jack Mayfield hit back-to-back singles before LF Kyle Tucker was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Drew Ferguson wasted no time singling in Toro and Mayfield to open scoring. Later, DH Chas McCormick drove in Tucker via a sacrifice fly that also allowed Ferguson to advance to second. The next at-bat, 1B Nick Tanielu knocked in Ferguson with a single to conclude scoring in the four-run first.
El Paso broke through in the second when a Jason Volselr sacrifice fly allowed SS Seth Mejias-Brean , who had previously tripled, to score.
The Express then answered with another four-spot in the third. Tucker ledoff with a double and advanced to third when Ferguson flew out. McCormick then jumped aboard on a single before quickly scoring when the Chihuahuas tossed three wild pitches. Tanielu trotted to first after drawing a walk but was later erased at second when C Garrett Stubbs reached base on a forceout. The catcher immediately swiped second base while SS Alex De Goti worked another walk. Before El Paso could end the inning, Straw and Toro each notched RBI singles that plated Tanielu and De Goti respectively, extending their lead to 8-1.
The E-Train kept rolling in the fourth as Ferguson walked and stole second base before advancing to third when McCormick lined. The runner eventually scored thanks to an RBI single off the bat of Tanielu.
In the following frames, the Chihuahuas slowly inched back. C Webster Rivas notched a fifth-inning single prior to another knock by RF Travis Jankowski. LF Rodrigo Orozco then singled in Rivas for their second run. The home team then made it a 9-3 ballgame when DH Austin Allen led off the sixth with a solo shot.
Round Rock hopped back into the driver's seat with a three-run seventh inning. Stubbs and De Goti reached base on back-to-back hits and moments later Straw cleared the bases with a double. Toro then mimicked the double to plate Straw and widen the gap to 12-3.
3B Jason Vosler hit an eighth-inning, two-run homer, scoring an Allen single, as the Chihuahuas flirted with a rally. Facing a 12-5 deficit, El Paso completed an unbelievable comeback in final frame as 11 hitters stepped up to the plate. The inning included a double, a walk, a hit batter, five singles, a grand slam and 10 runs all of which allowed the Chihuahuas to complete the comeback. Esteban Quiroz played hero for El Paso after entering the game as a pinch hitter for Batten. One pitch later, the pinch hitter smoked a grand slam that served Round Rock a 15-12 loss.
Round Rock hopes to bounce back as they begin a four-game series against the Albuquerque Isotopes (Colorado Rockies affiliate) on Saturday night. RHP Brandon Bielak (6-3, 4.45) is scheduled to take the hill for the Express while the Isotopes plan to counter with RHP Rico Garcia (0-4, 8.17). First pitch at Isotopes Park is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
For more information on the Express, visit RRExpress.com or call (512) 255-2255. Keep up with the Express on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and join the conversation during our historic 20th season using #20STROng.
Round Rock Express Baseball, owned and operated by Ryan Sanders Baseball, LP, is the proud Triple-A Affiliate of the Houston Astros and a member of the Pacific Coast League
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.