ROUND ROCK, Texas – The Round Rock Express (62-58) kicked off the Triple-A Final Stretch with a 7-6 walk-off win over the Triple-A West League Champion Tacoma Rainiers (73-48) in a ninth-inning thriller on Thursday night at Dell Diamond. The E-Train scored all seven of its runs in the final
ROUND ROCK, Texas – The Round Rock Express (62-58) kicked off the Triple-A Final Stretch with a 7-6 walk-off win over the Triple-A West League Champion Tacoma Rainiers (73-48) in a ninth-inning thriller on Thursday night at Dell Diamond. The E-Train scored all seven of its runs in the final three frames to overcome a 6-0 deficit and claim game one of the five-game series against the Rainiers.
Round Rock RHP Yerry Rodriguez (2-3, 8.56) earned the night’s win with a scoreless 1.1-inning relief outing that saw a hit, a walk and two strikeouts. Tacoma RHP Wyatt Mills (4-2, 2.83) finished with a blown-save loss after allowing the final three E-Train runs to score, including the game-winner, on three hits and a walk while recording just one out.
After tossing three scoreless innings in his Triple-A debut, Express starter RHP Cole Winn allowed a leadoff home run in the fourth as Rainiers DH Brian O’Keefe broke the scoreless tie. C Jose Godoy and LF Marcus Wilson followed with back-to-back singles before RHP Collin Wiles entered to take the mound in relief for Round Rock.
With Wiles on the mound, Tacoma RF Dillon Thomas launched a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Godoy. CF Luis Liberato continued the inning with a triple that sent Wilson home. After SS Donovan Walton worked a walk, a single from 2B Jantzen Witte plated Liberato then a single from 3B Kevin Padlo brought Walton home for a 5-0 lead.
Tacoma added a sixth run to their total during the fifth frame when Wilson drew a one-out walk before advancing to second as Thomas singled and scoring thanks to a Walton single.
2B Domingo Leyba tallied the first run of the night for Round Rock with a solo home run to right field in the seventh.
The Express trimmed the lead even further in the eighth inning when 3B Josh Jung blasted a three-run home run to left-center field on the first pitch he saw, scoring LF Charles Leblanc and SS Ryan Dorow, who had reached on a single and walk, respectively.
Despite allowing a leadoff single and stolen base from Godoy, Rodriguez held Tacoma scoreless in the top half of the ninth after striking Wilson out and enticing Thomas to fly into a double play in which Godoy was doubled off second.
Round Rock entered the bottom of the ninth trailing 6-4, but started their comeback attempt early as Leyba and 1B Curtis Terry knocked consecutive singles to start the action. A Steele Walker fielder’s choice pushed Leyba to third before Sam Huff made his Triple-A debut by entering the game as a pinch hitter for CF Elier Hernandez, doubling down the right-field line to send Leyba home.
As the inning continued, Carl Chester replaced Huff as a pinch runner on second base before Mills intentionally walked Leblanc. With the bases loaded, Dorow tapped the ball to the mound, where Mills bobbled the slow roller then threw the offering into right field, allowing both Walker and Chester to come home on the error to earn the thrilling 7-6 victory.
Round Rock and Tacoma face off in game two at Dell Diamond on Friday night. Express LHP Jake Latz (1-0, 3.75) is scheduled to make the start up against Rainiers RHP Ryan Weber (4-1, 3.61) with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m.
For more information about the Express, visit RRExpress.com or call (512) 255-2255. Subscribe to the E-Train email newsletter and keep up with the Express on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!