Six-Run Third Gives Express Series Opener 9-6
ROUND ROCK, Texas - A six-run third inning gave the Round Rock Express a lead they never relinquished in a 9-6 victory over the Las Vegas 51s in Monday night's series opener at The Dell Diamond. The Express (20-24) have won seven of their last nine series openers, while the 51s (19-26) fell to 4-9 in their last 13 games.
Las Vegas scored two runs on three hits in the top of the second, but Round Rock scored the next seven runs. Jason Castro's solo homer in the bottom of the second cut the deficit to one run; it was Castro's first career Triple-A homer.
But it was the third inning that proved detrimental for the 51s. The Express sent 10 batters to the plate in the six-run third, collecting five hits and taking advantage of two Las Vegas errors in the inning. Yordany Ramirez singled with one out, stole second and scored on Jason Bourgeois' RBI single. Bourgeois, who moved went third when Las Vegas center fielder Luis Figueroa misplayed his single, scored on an errant pickoff throw. Drew Locke's three-run triple capped the inning to give the Express a 7-2 lead.
Las Vegas rallied for four runs on five hits in the fifth but could get no closer, and Round Rock tacked on two insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh.
Express starter Wesley Wright (3-0) was shaky, allowing six runs on 11 hits and no walks with two strikeouts over 5.0 innings; however, he benefited from the run support to pick up the win. Express reliever Jonah Bayliss tossed 3.0 scoreless innings on three hits and no walks with three strikeouts. Casey Daigle retired the side in order with one strikeout in the ninth to earn his fifth save of the season.
Starter Marty McLeary (0-3) took the loss for the 51s, allowing seven runs on six hits and two walks with four strikeouts over 3.0 innings.
Bourgeois finished 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored for the Express, who tallied 12 hits for their 11th consecutive game with at least 10 hits. Matt Kata was 1-for-4 with a run scored to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, the longest by an Express player this season; Kata's streak of consecutive multiple-hit games ended at five. Chris Johnson was 2-for-4 with an RBI, extending his hitting streak to nine games. Eight of Round Rock's nine starters collected at least one hit.
J.P. Arencibia led the 14-hit attack for the 51s, going 3-for-4 with a run scored. Figueroa, Brett Wallace and Aaron Matthews each had two hits, while Jarrett Hoffpauir and Brian Dopirak each had two RBI. Hoffpauir hit his seventh homer of the season, a two-run shot in the 51s' four-run fifth.
Round Rock and Las Vegas continue their four-game series Tuesday with a 7:05 p.m. CDT first pitch at The Dell Diamond. Right-hander Josh Banks (4-3, 2.95 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Express, while southpaw Brian Tallet (0-0, 0.00 ERA) gets the nod for the 51s in a rehab start.
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