Express RHP Brandon Bielak Leads Team to 6-3 Victory over Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa - The Round Rock Express (45-31) concluded their current series against the (Iowa Cubs (42-35) with an exciting 6-4 victory on Monday afternoon at Principal Park. RHP Brandon Bielak (1-3, 6.57) led the team to success in a lights-out start, while LF Josh Rojas recorded a grand slam to provide the pitcher plenty of support.
Each team's starter earned a decision in the contest. Bielak posted a season-best outing on the hill as he worked for 7.0 scoreless innings in his fourth start of the season. The righty allowed only one hit and threw six 1-2-3 innings. Additionally, Bielak fanned nine I-Cubs hitters. On the losing side, RHP Trevor Clifton (2-7, 4.85) allowed four runs on five hits and four walks.
To begin the game, Round Rock and Iowa exchanged five scoreless innings. Express LF Josh Rojas stole the show in the sixth inning as he carved out a piece of center field for his first Triple-A grand slam. The longball plated DH Kyle Tucker, who has previously notched a single, as well as CF Drew Ferguson and 3B Nick Tanielu, who teamed up for a set of walks.
In the eighth, Ferguson reached base on a fielding error and made his way to second on a Tanielu single. Rojas then tacked on another RBI with a single, extending Round Rock's lead to 5-0.
However, Iowa broke through in the home half of the frame as LHP Kent Emanuel entered the game to relieve Bielak. The I-Cubs loaded the bases as Ian Happ worked a leadoff walk followed by a Taylor Davis single and a Jacob Hannemann walk. SS Dison Machado then singled Happ home for Iowa's first run, all while keeping the bases loaded for RF Mark Zagunis, who later tallied a two-run RBI single.
Round Rock responded in the ninth as 1B Taylor Jones notched a base hit that was quickly plated via a Ferguson single.
The Cubs threatened a comeback in the ninth when Robel Garcia went deep to bring Iowa within 6-4. E-Train RHP Felipe Paulino held off Iowa for the remainder of the inning to earn a save and help secure a 6-4 victory.
Round Rock heads back to Texas to continue their I-35 Rivalry Series against the San Antonio Missions (Milwaukee Brewers affiliate) on Tuesday night. Missions RHP Thomas Jankins (7-2, 3.52) is slated to start against an Express pitcher to be announced. First pitch at Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium is scheduled 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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