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RockHounds Shutout Travs in Series Opener

July 17, 2019 - Texas League (TL) - Midland RockHounds News Release

Your humble broadcaster and correspondent is in his 28th season with the club. After nearly three decades, it was the RockHounds who (finally) adopted the "Bobby Hards Little League School of Offense." The philosophy is simple - - never put the ball in play ... foul off two-strike pitches if necessary ... and draw walks whenever possible. It translated into a .222 batting average in the Magnolia (Seattle, Washington) Little League but the RockHounds worked it to perfection Tuesday night.

The 'Hounds broke a scoreless tie in the top of the ninth inning and did it without putting the ball in play, defeating the Arkansas Travelers, 2-0, at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock.

In a 57-pitch, 35-minute inning, the RockHounds scored twice on three walks and two hit batsmen to defeat the league's top club (the Travs are a Texas League-best 58-35, 8½ games better than any other team) in the opener of a three-game series.

Dan Gamache, in his first game with the 'Hounds (see below) drew a bases-loaded walk to break the scoreless tie and Nate Mondou put together an amazing, 14-pitch, plate appearance (one that began 0-2) resulting in a bases-loaded hit by pitch to force in the second run.

Pitching and defense dominated the game with only a few scoring chances before the RockHounds manufactured the game's only runs (without benefit of a fair ball) in the ninth.

A.J. Puk went the first two innings, backed by five strong innings from Kyle Friedrichs. Cody Stull pitched around the game's only error and a double from the next hitter (Kyle Lewis) in the eighth. Hs struck out Dom Thompson-Williams and, after an intentional walk, got Nick Zammarelli to fly out to end the inning.

Jesus Zambrano slammed the door in the ninth for the save, completing a unique two-game combination (see below).

Texas League South Division

Amarillo stayed hot, winning for the fifth straight time, with a 10-4 (home) win over Springfield. The RockHounds and Sod Poodles are both 14-11, leading the Corpus Christi Hooks (11-14) by three games and the Frisco RoughRiders (9-15) by 4½. The Hooks fell, 5-2, (at home) to NW Arkansas while Frisco defeated the Drillers (at Tulsa) by the same score.

Notable

How many times has THIS been said in Minor League Baseball? The player who was credited with the save for the RockHounds Tuesday night was the club's designated hitter Sunday. Jesus Zambrano filled the DH role when the 'Hounds were down to eight position players in the finale of the Corpus Christi series (he went 0-for-3, put the ball in play sharply once, and was hit by a pitch). We're not sure about his future at the dish, but Jesus recorded his first save with the RockHounds Tuesday night and lowered his ERA to 1.38 in 15 appearances.

In his two innings of work, Arkansas reliever Jake Haberer faced nine batters and had an 0-2 count on six of them. One of the six struck out and one grounded into a double play, but the other four reached base - - Chase Calabuig (3-2 walk) ... Tyler Ramirez (0-2 hit by pitch) ... Edwin Diaz (eight-pitch walk on 3-2) ... and Dan Gamache (bases-loaded nine-pitch walk on 3-2). A fifth batter reached after falling behind 0-2 - - Nate Moundou's remarkable 14-pitch plate appearance (bases-loaded hit by pitch) against Sam Delaplane in the ninth.

The RockHounds were, again, short-handed Tuesday night with just nine available position players.

- Mikey White (shoulder) has been placed on the Injured List

- Kevin Merrell was traded from Oakland to Kansas City (for pitcher Homer Bailey) on Sunday

- Luis Barrera (shoulder) and Greg Deichmann (hamstring) are still on the IL

- One of the roster spots was filled by infielder Dan Gamache, who signed with Oakland as a minor league free agent from the Lancaster Barnstormers of the (independent) Atlantic League. Originally selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the sixth round of the 2011 draft, Dan has reached the Triple-A level twice (2015 and 2016). He was drafted out of Auburn University, where he was a teammate of RockHounds reliever Trey Cochran-Gill .

Chase Calabuig has hit in eight consecutive games (11-30, .367) with seven runs, four doubles, a home run and eight RBI.

A.J. Puk went two innings in a starting role. He allowed a leadoff single to Donnie Walton before retiring the next six batters, four by strikeout, and touched 99 mph on the radar gun.

Next Game

Wednesday, July 17 vs. Arkansas Travelers

Dickey-Stephens Park North Little Rock, Arkansas

First pitch 7:10 p.m.

- Second of a three-game series and of a seven-game road trip

- Radio: NewsTalk 550 with Bob Hards ... airtime 7:00 p.m.

Probable Starters

ARK: Logan Gilbert (RH, 1st appearance)

RH: Ben Howard (RH, 7-6, 2.73)


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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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