The Frisco RoughRiders, Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, defeated the Hooks 4-3. Pedro Payano started the game for Frisco, and had a dominate performance. In relief, Ryne Slack continued to be a reliable arm out of the bullpen. Corpus Christi, affiliate of the Houston Astros, attempted a rally in the ninth inning. However, they were not successful in doing so. The four-game series is now tied at 1-1.
Payano made his second start at the Double-A level. He had a strong first outing last Thursday versus the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Payano worked five innings and allowed one run on six hits, walking one and striking out five. He left in line for the win but took no decision. In yesterday’s outing, Payano pitched 4.1 innings. He gave up four hits, four walks, and struck out three batters. Payano allowed no runs in his start. Ryne Slack came in to relieve Payano, and was phenomenal himself.
Slack entered in the fifth inning, with one out and two runners on. They were both in scoring position. The left-handed reliever retired Garrett Stubbs and Jack Mayfield, keeping Frisco in front 2-0. He retired all eight men that he faced, earning his second win of the season. Slack threw 2 1/3 innings of perfect baseball for the RoughRiders. He gave up no hits, allowed no walks, and got three punch outs.
The final two relief pitchers of the game were not so dialed in. Shane McCain took over for slack. He allowed one hit, and one run (earned). He did strike out two Hooks players in his one inning pitched. Nick Gardewine ended up earning the save. However, it didn’t come easy for the Frisco RoughRiders. Trailing 4-1 entering the ninth, the Hooks scored twice on a two-out, two-run double from Kyle Tucker to close within a run, at 4-3. but Nick Gardewine finished off the victory with a strikeout of J.D. Davis, earning his first save of the year.
LHP Ryne Slack Image courtesy of the Frisco RoughRiders
The RoughRiders took a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning. This was with the help of three Corpus Christi mistakes. The first run scored on a fielding error. Scott Heineman’s hit a sacrifice fly that added another run. Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s sacrifice fly in the seventh inning increased the lead to 3-0. Michael O’Neill hit his first home run with the RoughRiders in the top of the ninth inning, giving Frisco a 4-1 lead.
Fortunately for the Frisco RoughRiders, they were able to capitalize on mistakes. They were not able to create a lot of scoring opportunities themselves. The team left nine men on base, going 0-7 with runners in scoring position. Last night was the first time this year that the RoughRiders have won a game without collecting a hit with runners in scoring position. They haven’t been this lucky previously. Frisco’s .232 team average with runners in scoring position ranks last in the league.
With 10 more strikeouts Wednesday, Riders pitching has fanned 22 in the first two games of the four-game set. Riders pitching has struck out at least 10 hitters in each of the last three games. Ryne Slack has stranded 12 of 13 inherited runners this season, including his two in the fifth inning Wednesday. With Wednesday’s win against Corpus Christi, the Riders snapped a three-game skid against the Hooks.
The RoughRiders will play game three of the four-game set against the Hooks tonight. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM CT, from Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Be sure to follow Blake Cole, The Inscriber’s exclusive reporter to the Frisco RoughRiders on Twitter (@blakeacole), for live game day coverage and other team news.