EL PASO, Texas- The Round Rock Express (69-45) prevailed 12-11 in a back-and-forth affair against the El Paso Chihuahuas (66-49) on Thursday night at Southwest University Park. Four E-Train batters posted multi-hit efforts to propel the victory.
Round Rock RHP Cy Sneed (7-6, 4.26) earned the win after a 2.0-inning appearance out of the bullpen in which he punched out two opponents. El Paso RHP Carl Edwards Jr. (2-1, 4.08) suffered the loss after surrendering three runs on three hits in a ninth-inning appearance out of the bullpen.
Round Rock quickly took a lead as 2B Myles Straw and DH Abraham Toro singled before scoring on a triple off the bat of SS Jack Mayfield. The E-Train extended their lead in the third when LF Alex De Goti reached base on a Chihuahuas fielding error before heading to second on a Straw groundout. With one out, Toro ripped a single that allowed De Goti to score.
However, El Paso broke through in the fifth when C Webster Rivas and LF Rodrigo Orozco teamed up for back-to-back solo shots. RF Travis Jankowski then singled prior to advancing to second on a throwing error committed by Mayfield. One out later, 2B Ty France notched an RBI single that leveled the score at three.
Not to be outdone, the Express dropped a three-spot in the sixth to regain the lead. 3B Taylor Jones ledoff the frame with a solo shot. A throwing error later allowed 1B Nick Tanielu to reach base and advance to second. C Jamie Ritchie wasted no time doubling the runner in for Round Rock's fifth run. Shortly thereafter, Straw knocked in Ritchie with a base hit to make it a 6-3 ballgame.
The back-and-forth affair continued as DH Austin Allen led off the home half with a single. The next hitter, Seth Mehias-Brean, grounded into a forceout that erased Allen but allowed him to safely reach base. Rivas then doubled in the runner to keep El Paso within two runs.
The foes continued to trade runs in the seventh. RF Kyle Tucker worked a leadoff walk and stole second base prior to hustling home on a Drew Ferguson base hit. In the bottom half, Jankowski drew a walk and raced to second on a Matthew Batten sacrifice bunt before France stepped up to the plate and doubled in another run. Before Round Rock could retire the inning, Allen notched another hit that allowed France to score, bringing El Paso within 7-6.
In the eighth, Mayfield smoked a two-run homer, a shot that was quickly mimicked by Rivas to keep El Paso within one run. Orozco and Jankowski then worked a pair of walks and advanced to their respective bases on a Batten's second sacrifice bunt. Orozco eventually trotted home thanks to a France sacrifice fly, tying the game at nine.
In the ninth, Ferguson worked a leadoff walk and Richie followed with a single. Straw eventually sent in the tie-breaking run with a base hit moments before Toro doubled in Ritchie and Straw for what would prove to be crucial insurance runs.
Facing a 12-9 deficit, El Paso threatened a comeback in the final frame. Down to their last out, Rivas recorded a two-out double that plated Mejias-Brean, who had previously reached base on a fielder's choice. The next at-bat, Orozco singled, allowing the runner to advance to third before making a mad-dash home when Jancowski recorded a base hit. Ultimately, Sneed fanned Boog Powell, who entered the game as a pinch hitter, to secure a 12-11 victory.
Round Rock aims for a series sweep against El Paso in tomorrow's finale. Express LHP Ryan Hartman (5-5, 5.46) is slated to start opposite RHP Bryan Mitchell (0-3, 11.37). First pitch at Southwest University Park is scheduled for 8:05 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.
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
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