DES MOINES, Iowa - The Round Rock Express (4-0) used a huge seven-run eighth inning to sprint past the Iowa Cubs (0-4) by a final score of 10-4 this afternoon at Principal Park in Des Moines. RHP Anthony Ranaudo was brilliant in his first start of the season, picking up the win after allowing just one hit while striking out eight Cubs in five scoreless innings of work.
The victory pushed Round Rock to 4-0 on the year, the team's best start in the 17-year history of the franchise.
Much like the first three games of this series, the E-Train scored early and often. For the fourth consecutive outing, the leadoff hitter reached safely as SS James Jones connected on the sixth pitch of the game for a double. He would eventually score the first run of the day thanks to a groundout from LF Jared Hoying.
The scoring continued in the second inning as 1B Patrick Kivlehan doubled and was driven in on a single from 2B Pedro Ciriaco in the next at-bat. A double from RF Ryan Strausborger allowed Ciriaco to trot home, pushing the Round Rock lead to 3-0.
The real fireworks came in the eighth inning as the E-Train dropped a seven-spot on the Cubs, all but sealing the series sweep for the visitors. The first three hitters in the frame reached base safely as Strausborger and Jones each singled before Profar drew a walk. Hoying then collected his only knock of the day, a hard-hit ground ball that rolled deep into right field for a triple.
DH Joey Gallo tripled in the very next at-bat, scoring Hoying easily. Kivlehan then walked before Ciriaco singled to score Gallo. A pitching change for the Cubs didn't do much to stop the bleeding as 3B Drew Robinson and C Patrick Cantwell both reached, scoring another run. The last dagger of the frame came in the form of a single from Jones, plating two more and extending the Round Rock lead to 10-0.
The Cubs got on the board in the bottom of the frame as 1B Dan Vogelbach tagged LHP Chad Bell with two earned runs on a single to center field. Bell eventually picked up the hold, allowing just the two runs on four hits in three innings of work. The lefty struck out four batters compared to just two walks.
RHP Jefri Hernandez entered the game in the ninth, allowing singles to three of the six batters he faced, including a two-run single to 2B John Andreoli that cut the Iowa deficit to 10-4. Hernandez then drew a ground ball to eliminate the mini-rally, shutting the door on the Cubs and the opening weekend series.
The E-Train now proceeds full steam ahead to Omaha for a date with the Storm Chasers. First pitch for tomorrow's series opener is set for 6:35 p.m. with RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez scheduled to take the mound for Round Rock. Omaha's starter has yet to be announced. Following the four-game set, the Express will return to Dell Diamond for Opening Day festivities. The home opener on Friday, April 15 will include a ceremonial first pitch from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a schedule magnet giveaway, postgame Bud Light Friday Fireworks and much more.
Single game tickets are on sale now. For more information on the Express, visit www.RoundRockExpress.com or call (512) 255-2255. Keep up with the Express on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!