PAPILLION, Nebraska - The Round Rock Express (21-13) held off a late Omaha Storm Chasers (14-21) rally to collect an 8-7 victory in Friday night's series finale at Werner Park. The win gave Round Rock their first four-game series victory in Omaha since 2009.
Round Rock RHP Cy Sneed (1-4, 5.72) picked up his first win of the season after an impressive relief outing. The righty permitted just two runs on six hits in 5.1 innings of work, striking out a pair of Omaha hitters in the process. Express starter RHP Forrest Whitley allowed five runs on five hits, including three home runs, in 3.2 innings. He walked three and struck out five in the no-decision. On the losing side, Omaha RHP Zach Lovvorn (1-2, 10.17) gave up five runs on nine hits in 5.0 frames.
Both teams jumped out of the gate, combining to score 10 runs in the first three innings. Round Rock kicked off the early scoring barrage with a pair of runs in the top of the first. CF Derek Fisher and SS Myles Straw teamed up for back-to-back one-out walks before a pair of RBI singles courtesy of DH Yordan Alvarez and LF Kyle Tucker put the Express up 2-0.
However, Omaha stormed back with a trio of runs in the home half of the opening frame. SS Nicky Lopez worked a one-out walk prior to a single off the bat of RF Jorge Bonifacio . DH Cheslor Cuthbert then stepped to the plate and launched a three-run homer that instantly put the Storm Chasers on top 3-2.
Round Rock answered with a three-run inning of their own in the top of the second. RF Drew Ferguson led off the frame with a single before racing home on a Garrett Stubbs double. An ensuing Fisher fielder's choice eliminated Stubbs at home, then Straw jumped aboard via his second walk of the evening. Alvarez collected his second and third RBI of the game with a two-run double that put the E-Train back ahead 5-3.
Omaha C Nick Dini and Bonifacio each notched solo home runs in the next two innings to pull the Storm Chasers level with the Express at 5-5. The resilient Round Rock squad regained the lead in the fifth inning thanks to back-to-back home runs off the bats of Tucker and 1B AJ Reed .
The Express added what proved to be a valuable insurance run in the eighth as Straw singled before moving to second on a passed ball by Dini. Mayfield then singled to second but Omaha 2B Erick Mejia threw an errant pass to first, allowing Straw to race home with a big run to put Round Rock ahead by an 8-5 count.
Lopez and Bonifacio attempted to spark a late rally with a double followed by a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, however Sneed recovered to retire the side to preserve the series-clinching 8-7 victory.
Round Rock now heads home to kick off a 13-game homestand with a four-game set against the Oklahoma City Dodgers (Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate). Express LHP Ryan Hartman (4-0, 3.86) is set to face off against Dodgers LHP Ben Holmes (0-4, 6.75) in the series opener. First pitch on Saturday night at Dell Diamond is set 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.