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Howard, Calabuig Lead RockHounds to Win

May 21, 2019 - Texas League (TL) - Midland RockHounds News Release

Mother Nature's name doesn't appear on any roster, but she's been a "player" over the last 36 hours as far as the RockHounds are concerned.

On Sunday at Security Bank Ballpark, Kevin Merrell's fly ball to shallow left, lost in the sun and wind, turned into a two-run, game-tying double and the 'Hounds went on to edge Corpus Christi (4-3).

Monday at Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, the wind was blowing out to left at more than 20 miles-per-hour throughout the game. Only one batter took advantage of the jet stream and it determined the outcome of the game.

Chase Calabuig lifted a high fly ball to left field with one man on in the top of the third. Perhaps the best "barometer" (speaking of weather) was the reaction of Frisco pitcher Tyler Phillips. When the ball left Calabuig's bat, Phillips pointed in the air, as pitchers sometimes do to help their fielder's track a ball, usually on those popped up or not hit deep. Phillips' facial reaction changed instant by instant as the ball not only cleared the outfield wall, it flew over the tall (50 feet or so) A-frame seating area beyond it.

The two-run home run would be the difference as the RockHounds won the opener of a key three-game series at Frisco, defeating the RoughRiders, 2-1, and moving to within a half-game of the first place Riders in the Texas League South (see below).

The RoughRiders had men on base in every inning but the first but did not get on the board until Brendon Davis (3-for-4, double, RBI) sent an RBI single up the middle in the last of the ninth. Frisco still had two on with one out but John Gorman struck out Christian Lopes before Michael De Leon grounded out to end the game.

Both starters were outstanding. Brian Howard improved to 4-2 and dropped his ERA to 1.81, pitching into the seventh while allowing no runs on seven hits with no walks (one hit batsman) and four strikeouts. Phillips went 61/3 and allowed two runs on six hits, with no walks (one hit batsman) and six K's.

Trey Cochran-Gill (hold) pitched two scoreless innings while Gorman earned his second save in as many games.

Notable

The South Division race is tight as your proverbial drum. Frisco (23-21) leads the RockHounds and Corpus Christi (both 22-21) by just a half-game (the Hooks were 5-1 winners at Amarillo) with the Sod Poodles (19-23) still just three back.

While the South Division has all four teams with three games, the North is the opposite - - Arkansas holds a five-and-a-half-game lead over second place (and defending league champion) Tulsa.

Frisco's run in the ninth was the first allowed by the RockHounds bullpen in its last 182/3 innings.

Luis Barrera (1-for-5, run, stolen base) extended his hit streak to nine games (13-42, .310) and he has hit in 11-of-12 games (.273).

Mikey White's first inning double extended his on-base streak to 18 games (.265). He is hitting .317 in his last 10 games.

Chase Calabuig (2-for-3, 2-run HR, walk) has reached base in 11 straight games, with hits in nine of them (.283) and has been on base in 24-of-26 games overall (games with at least one plate appearance). Chase has hits in three straight games (5-for-11, HR, 4 RBI).

It was painful, but Edwin Diaz ran his on-base streak to a dozen games with a hit by pitch (.231). He narrowly missed his 19th extra-base hit when center fielder Joh Altmann made a tremendous catch on Edwin's drive of nearly 400 feet (and probably slowed just enough by the wind) in the seventh.

Roster Moves:

(C) Collin Theroux to RockHounds from (AAA) Las Vegas

(C) Robert Mullen from RockHounds to (Adv-A) Stockton

(P) Kyle Finnegan placed in Injured List

(P) Grant Holmes activated from Injured List

Collin Theroux re-joins the RockHounds after appearing in five games for the Pacific Coast League Aviators. Interesting sidebar - - Collin, who had last played for the RockHounds on May 1, still leads the 'Hounds in home runs with four.

Next Game

Tuesday, May 21 vs. Frisco RoughRiders

Dr Pepper Ballpark Frisco, Texas

First pitch 11:05 a.m.

- Second of a three-game series and seven-game road trip (Frisco & Amarillo)

- Radio: No broadcast (weekday / day game)

Probable Starters

FRI: Esmerling Vasquez (RH, 0-2, 7.00)

RH: Kyle Friedrichs (RH, 0-0, 0.00 in one start)

Next at Security Bank Ballpark

The RockHounds open a six-game homestand on Tuesday, May 28

May 28-30 vs. Corpus Christi Hooks

May 31-June 2 vs. Amarillo Sod Poodles


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