PAPILLION, Nebraska - The Round Rock Express (20-13) battled through a back-and-forth contest against the Omaha Storm Chasers (14-20) on Thursday night, eventually claiming an 8-6 victory in game three. The E-Train got the final word when LF Kyle Tucker blasted his ninth homer of the year over the Werner Park fences in the fifth inning.
Express RHP Brady Rodgers (4-0, 2.93) recorded his team-leading fourth win of the year after a 4.0 inning relief appearance. The righty held Omaha to two runs on three hits while striking out four in his first relief appearance. Round Rock RHP Brendan McCurry earned a save after punching out two in the ninth inning. Omaha RHP Josh Staumont (0-2, 2.81) suffered the loss after allowing two unearned runs on a hit and a walk in a 1.0 inning start.
The Express set the tone for the game from the very start, plating two runs before the Storm Chasers could retire the first inning. Round Rock leadoff hitter 2B Alex De Goti reached base on a fielding error and scored on an ensuing Derek Fisher ground-rule double. After Fisher stole third base, DH Taylor Jones sent a run-scoring sacrifice fly into left field to give the E-Train a 2-0 lead. The Storm Casers cut the lead in half in the bottom of the inning when LF Jorge Bonifacio doubled home 2B Nicky Lopez , who previously reached base via a walk.
The next inning, E-Train C Jamie Ritchie and De Goti fired off back-to-back solo home runs to opposite sides of the outfield to widen the gap to 4-1. Omaha answered back as SS Erick Mejia and C Andrew Susac teamed up for a pair of singles that resulted in a run.
The teams carried the back-and-forth affair into the third inning where Express SS Myles Straw notched a leadoff single. With the bases loaded after walks by 1B Yordan Alvarez and LF Kyle Tucker, RF Drew Ferguson sent an RBI single to the Storm Chasers right fielder increasing the Express lead to 5-2.
Aiming to tie the game, Omaha led off the home half with three consecutive hits, the latest of which scored 3B Humberto Arteaga. Just one out later, a Bubba Starling sacrifice fly brought the Storm Chasers within 5-4.
Not to be outdone, Tucker smoked a two-run homer, his ninth of the year, to put his team three runs ahead of the Storm Chasers in the fifth inning. The next frame, Straw fired off a single and stole second base to advance into scoring position. In the next at-bat, Alvarez sent Straw home with a line-drive single.
Omaha 1B Samir Duenez brought the Storm Chasers closer after collecting a two-run long ball in the bottom half of the sixth, but E-Train defense held on in the final innings to earn the win.
Round Rock enters game four on Friday night with a series win on their mind, while the Storm Chasers hope to settle for a split. E-Train RHP Forrest Whitley (0-2, 10.43) is set to take the mound up against Storm Chasers RHP Kyle Zimmer (1-1, 8.25). First pitch at Werner Park is scheduled for 7:05 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.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.