Express Edge Storm Chasers 10-9
PAPILLION, Nebraska - The Round Rock Express (83-55) topped the Omaha Storm Chasers (58-79) by a 10-9 final on Saturday afternoon at Werner Park. The Express battled through a Storm Chasers rally to take the game two victory.
Express RHP Ronel Blanco (2-1, 5.96) earned the win after a 0.2-inning appearance out of the bullpen in which he surrendered two runs on two hits. On the losing side, Omaha LHP Richard Lovelady (1-2, 3.20) suffered the loss and a blown save after surrendering three runs on four hits and a walk in a 0.2-inning relief appearance.
1B Taylor Jones provided early offense for the Express as he smoked his 21st home run of the year in the top of the first inning. The two-run shot also scored LF Chas McCormick, who led off the game with a single.
The E-Train kept rolling in the second as DH Jamie Ritchie notched a double prior to advancing to third on a McCormick knock. CF Myles Straw then singled in Ritchie while McCormick followed closely thereafter on a Jack Mayfield sacrifice fly.
The next frame, 3B Nick Tanielu upped Round Rock's lead to 5-0 when he stepped up to the plate and crushed a home run. The Storm Chasers eventually got on the board when 1B Erich Weiss homered to score SS Jecksson Flores, who led off the frame with Omaha's first hit of the afternoon.
After a pair of scoreless innings, Mayfield and Jones teamed up to record back-to-back singles, but Tanielu grounded into a double play in the next at-bat. On the play, Jones and Tanielu were each erased, but Mayfield raced home with a run. C Lorenzo Quintana then reached base on a single and swiped second base before advancing to third on a Storm Chasers error. 2B Alex De Goti wasted no time doubling in the catcher to extend Round Rock's lead to 7-2.
However, Omaha countered with a seven-run seventh inning to take the lead. After Omaha scored two runs on four consecutive hits to begin the inning, a pair of stolen bases, an error and a wild pitch brought Omaha within 7-6. With the bases empty, a walk and a duo of hit batters put three men on, then two more quick hits pushed Omaha ahead 9-7.
Round Rock then fought through the two-run deficit to take the lead in the eighth. RF Ronnie Dawson, McCormick and Straw each hit singles, the third of which scored a run. One out later, Jones hit a sacrifice fly to plate Mayfield and level the score at nine. With Straw waiting on second, Omaha opted to intentionally walk Tanielu to face Quintana instead. The decision ultimately backfired as Quintana singled in Straw for the game-winning run.
RHP Ralph Garza then tossed two scoreless innings to hold off a late Storm Chasers rally and preserve the 10-9 win.
Round Rock continues their final regular season series with game three against Omaha on Sunday night. Express RHP Carson LaRue (1-5, 5.76) is slated to take the mound while the Storm Chasers plan to counter with RHP Foster Griffin (8-5, 5.24). First pitch at Werner Park 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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