Express Come Back in Dramatic 9-8 Walkoff Victory
ROUND ROCK, Texas - Walk it off! Round Rock Express (39-26) 3B Nick Tanielu notched a clutch two-out single in the bottom of the ninth inning to fuel a walkoff victory against the Reno Aces (28-37) in their series opener on Wednesday night at Dell Diamond.
Express RHP Ralph Garza (5-1, 5.08) earned the win after holding the Aces hitless and fanning a pair in a 2.1 inning appearance out of the bullpen. On the losing side, LHP Anthony Vasquez (3-4, 5.94) surrendered a run on one hit and two walks.
The Aces struck first as 1B Yasmany Thomas recorded a second inning solo home run. One out later, RF Matt Szczur singled prior to a Wyatt Mathisen two-run blast that extended the visitors' lead to 3-0. The following inning, Reno tacked three more as 2B Domingo Leyba worked a walk followed by a trio of base hits from DH Jake Lamb, Thomas and LF Travis Snyder, two of which led to runs. Szczur then launched a sacrifice fly to center field to plate Thomas before the inning was retired.
Round Rock fired back in the fourth as 1B Taylor Jones worked a walk and raced home from first thanks to a Drew Ferguson double. 3B Nick Tanielu then used an RBI single to plate Ferguson, cutting the deficit to 6-2.
Reno struck right back in the top of the fifth beginning with a Lamb walk. The runner then advanced to second and third on a Thomas walk and Snider base hit. With no outs in the frame, Lamb hustled home on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Mathisen.
The E-Train continued to fight in the home half as SS Alex De Goti notched a leadoff double that eventually scored via a Kyle Tucker single. The next frame, Ferguson and Tanielu teamed up for back-to-back singles. Ferguson then hustled home on an AJ Reed sacrifice fly, then Tanielu followed closely thereafter thanks to an Anibal Sierra RBI double.
The back-and-forth contest continued in the seventh as Thomas, Szczur and Mathison loaded the bases with a trio of singles prior to a John Ryan Murphy a bases loaded walk to force in the Aces eighth run.
The E-Train stunned the Aces as they rallied for a three-run eighth inning to level the score at eight. Jones led off with a single that was matched by Ferguson the next at-bat. Reed then worked a walk to load the bases for Sierra. The hitter ultimately grounded out to third but collected an RBI on the play to bring Round Rock within 8-6. C Jamie Ritchie later cleared the bases with a two-run single to level the score at eight.
With two-outs in the final frame, Jones and Ferguson reached base on consecutive walks. Tanielu played hero as he plated Jones for the game-winning run after smoking a single, securing a 9-8 walk off victory.
Round Rock aims to keep the momentum on their side as they face the Aces in game two on Thursday night. Express RHP Rogelio Armenteros (3-4, 5.00) is scheduled to start while the Aces plan to counter with RHP Matt Koch (1-2, 7.46). First pitch 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.
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