April 5, 2013 - Pacific Coast League (PCL) - Round Rock Express
ROUND ROCK, Texas - Behind a strong outing from starter Justin Grimm, the Express kept to their winning ways with a second straight 3-1 victory over the Omaha Storm Chasers Friday night.
Grimm held tough and worked his way out of trouble in his 2013 debut, allowing one run on four hits over 5.2 innings on the mound. Grimm's only blemish came in the second inning when Storm Chasers Max Ramirez and Xavier Nady hit back-to-back singles to put runners on first and third with no outs to start the frame. Grimm forced catcher Adam Moore to hit into a double play, but Ramirez was able to score on the twin killing to give Omaha the game's first run and a 1-0 lead. That would be the only threat the Omaha offense would give the Express pitching staff as only one other Storm Chaser reached scoring position.
After a single by Irving Falu, Grimm settled down and retired six straight batters from the second into the fourth inning.
The Express offense battled back in the fifth when outfielder Joey Butler and second baseman Yangervis Solarte each singled to start the inning. With one out and runners on first and second, catcher Eli Whiteside singled softly to right field, plating Butler and sending Solarte to third to begin the rally. Round Rock took the lead after outfielder Engel Beltre grounded out to second base which allowed Solarte to score the go-ahead run.
After Grimm exited with two outs in the sixth, Round Rock's bullpen took over and dominated once again, scattering a hit and a hit batsman, while striking out seven over the final 3.1 innings.
In the seventh, Solarte and infielder Chris McGuiness walked with one out and advanced into scoring position when Omaha reliever Dan Wheeler bounced a pitched that skipped away from Moore and allowed the runners to move up. Wheeler was able to get the second out of the inning, but was lifted for Donnie Joseph who then walked Beltre to load the bases for top prospect Jurickson Profar. The 20-year-old shortstop showed patience at the plate and worked a walk to force in Solarte for the second time, giving the Express an insurance run and a 3-1 lead.
RHP Cory Burns capped the relief effort with a scoreless ninth that included two strikeouts for his first save of the season. Express relievers have now strung together 7.1 scoreless innings over the season's first two games. The bullpen has also allowed just three hits and struck out 12.
The Express will look for their third straight win Saturday night when they take the field against the Storm Chasers for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch. LHP Brad Mills (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will take the mound for the Express against Omaha's LHP Brad Verdugo (0-0, 0.00 ERA). Saturday night will also feature Express Caps given away to the first 3,000 fans, presented by Nyle Maxwell Family of Dealerships. For tickets and more information, visit www.RoundRockExpress.com or call (512) 255-2255. Keep up with the Express on Facebook and Twitter!