RockHounds Take Series Finale from Naturals, 8-2
It wasn't an official doubleheader, but the RockHounds and Northwest Arkansas Naturals split a pair of decisions Sunday afternoon at Security Bank Ballpark. The Naturals closed out Saturday night's suspended game, 9-5, and the RockHounds came back to win the regularly scheduled Sunday contest, 8-2.
RockHounds starter Grant Holmes was outstanding in the "full game" Sunday, allowing two runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out nine. The 'Hounds backed the right-hander by taking a 4-0 lead on a solo home run from catcher Beau Taylor in the second and scored three more in the third inning, highlighted by a two-run triple from Yairo Munoz .
The Naturals, shut out through five innings, scored two against Holmes in the sixth, but Tyler Marincov answered with a solo home run - his second in as many games - in the home half of the sixth and the 'Hounds added two more in the seventh and one in the eighth. The 'Hounds used a balanced attack in the win, with seven different hitters driving in runs (Munoz led the way with two).
Joel Seddon backed Holmes' quality start with three innings of scoreless relief, earning his second save of the season. The appearance was his first since returning to the RockHounds after a spot start with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds.
The RockHounds (29-27) finished their homestand with a 3-3 mark (1-2 vs. Arkansas and 2-1 vs. NW Arkansas), finished the first half 10-14 against the North Division (19-13 against the South) and are 15-5 in their last 20 home games.
San Antonio was leading late, 4-1, at Springfield with the game delayed by rain in the eighth inning. Assuming a Missions' win, the RockHounds will enter the home stretch of the first half pennant race trailing San Antonio by two games as the clubs prepare to play a four-game series at Nelson Wolff Stadium Tulsa rallied in the last of the ninth for the third time in the last four games, defeating Corpus Christi, 10-9, pushing the Hooks (again, assuming SA wins) three games back in the South Division.
There are 14 games remaining in the first half pennant race.
When the RockHounds sent eight batters to the plate in the last of the seventh, it gave Brett Vertigan a fourth plate appearance. He had reached base twice, but both times on an error, and was 0-for-3. The RockHounds' left fielder drew a four-pitch walk in the eighth, extending his on-base streak to 20 games. It is his second such streak of the 2017 season, as he reached in 20 straight from April 18-May 11.
Grant Holmes' performance was outstanding, and perhaps pivotal. Rated Oakland's #6 prospect by Baseball America, the 21-year-old right-hander had previously struggled at home this season - - his road record was 2-1, 2.75, but he took a 1-4, 7.94 home mark into Sunday's game. Of the six hits that Holmes allowed, three were infield hits (each on a "chop") and one was a bunt. While he hit one batter and threw two wild pitches allowing a run to score in one case, he also walked just one hitter and struck out nine, matching his career high.
Yairo Munoz (2-for-4, run, triple, two RBI) has hit in seven straight games (15-for-32, .469) with four doubles, a triple, two home runs and seven RBI. Munoz also has hits in 14 of 15 games and has reached base in 17 of 18. He has 14 extra-base hits in those 18 games.
Tyler Marincov, who homered both Saturday and Sunday, has hits in seven straight games (10-for-27, .370) and has reached base in 14 straight. The home runs were his eighth and ninth of the season and he shares the league lead in RBI with Tulsa's Edwin Rios (43).
Beau Taylor has had one heckuva "homecoming" since joining the RockHounds from extended spring (restricted list) on Wednesday. In his first five games, Taylor went 8-for-16 and hit for a "homestand cycle". In his first at-bat, he dropped down a bunt against the Arkansas Travelers' shift and added a triple in that same season debut. His solo home run on Sunday was a rocket to the top of the grass berm in right field and broke a scoreless tie. One of the most popular players in recent years, Taylor is now a member of the RockHounds for (all or part of) a sixth season.
Sunday's games across the Texas League were the last of the North vs. South match-ups in the first half of the season.
Monday is a league-wide off day, followed by 20 games in 20 days from June 6-25, all of it division play.
The 20-game stretch will also see the end of the first half pennant race on June 19 and the start of the second half the following day.
The RockHounds will travel to San Antonio for a four-game series with the division-leading Missions. First pitch each evening is at 7:05 p.m. with radio coverage at 7:00 p.m. on NewsTalk KCRS. The four-gamer will be the last head-to-head meetings in the first half.
Teeing It Up For Scott
Monday is also our annual Scott Senator Memorial Golf Tournament, honoring the memory of our late Director of Communications (Scott passed away after a remarkably brave battle with a rare form of cancer in September 1996). The tournament benefits the Foundation which bears his name and, in turn, benefits West Texas children's charities.
Thanks, in advance, to our friends at Nueva Vista Golf Club for hosting the event and kudos to RockHounds Assistant General Manager Ray Fieldhouse, who oversees the event (and our terrific front office staff members, who will go from the weekend tarp crew to the links). Our thanks and appreciation to our corporate teams and sponsors and to the RockHounds players and field staff members who are "teeing it up for Scott". Thanks, one and all!
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Texas League Stories from June 4, 2017
- Missed Opportunities Hurt Riders in 3-1 Loss to Travs - Frisco RoughRiders
- RockHounds Take Series Finale from Naturals, 8-2 - Midland RockHounds
- Missions Avoid the Sweep with Sunday Win - Springfield Cardinals
- Drillers Finish Homestand with Walk-Off Victory - Tulsa Drillers
- Drillers Ninth-Inning Wallop Wins Series - Corpus Christi Hooks
- Naturals Win Suspended Game, Drop Finale at Midland - Northwest Arkansas Naturals
- Saturday's Game Suspended Due to Rain - Midland RockHounds
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