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TEXAS LEAGUE BASEBALL: Long ball costs RockHounds against Drillers - Odessa American: Sports

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TEXAS LEAGUE BASEBALL: Long ball costs RockHounds against Drillers

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Posted: Monday, July 29, 2019 11:16 pm

MIDLAND The Midland RockHounds entered Monday’s game against the Tulsa Drillers looking to keep building in the right direction after snapping a three-game losing streak Sunday.

That idea was stopped cold by Tulsa, thanks in large part to a power surge from Jared Walker.

Walker finished 3-for-4 with two home runs and four RBIs as the RockHounds fell to the Drillers 8-2 in Texas League play at Security Bank Ballpark.

“Jared’s a good hitter,” RockHounds manager Scott Steinmann said. “I’m surprised he hasn’t hit as well as he wants to this season but he has tremendous power as we saw out there.”

After both teams went scoreless through the first two innings, Walker got things going on the first pitch he saw from Midland starter Grant Holmes.

Walker swung and deposited the ball into the RockHounds bullpen in right field to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning.

Logan Landon followed suit just two pitches later, hitting his own solo home run in a nearly identical spot to add a second run in the frame for the Drillers (56-50).

The Midland (53-53) bats, meanwhile, had a tough time dealing with Tulsa starter Jo Jo Gray.

The RockHounds were able to get runners on in four of the five innings that Gray pitched, but weren’t able to convert opportunities to score.

Gray (1-2) earned his first win in double-A, allowing four hits in five shutout innings while striking out four.

“Tulsa just did a good job of stringing some hits together,” RockHounds outfielder Mickey McDonald said. “Once you face an early deficit like that, it can be tough to get your energy up and keep the ball rolling in the right direction.”

Walker continued to give the pitching staff a boost in the fifth, hitting a second leadoff home run to push the lead to 3-0 and give his team the cushion it needed.

Holmes was finished after the fifth inning, allowing three runs on five hits and striking out five.

Walker nearly hit a third home run in the sixth inning to right field but drove in two more runs with an RBI double to cap off a three-run sixth inning for Tulsa. Connor Wong drove in the other run of the inning with a single.

He was aggressive at the plate with those two home runs and the double,” said Steinmann of Walker. “We’ve had some success against him this year but he just got us tonight.”

The RockHounds broke the shutout in the sixth inning thanks to an RBI double from Dan Gamache to bring in Edwin Diaz. Both players finished 2-for-4 for the game.

But the Drillers answered with two more runs in the seventh, one coming on an RBI double from Zach McKinstry and the other on a passed ball from Midland reliever Wandisson Charles, who made his RockHounds debut Monday.

Midland closed the scoring in the eighth with an RBI triple by Diaz to bring in Chase Calabuig.

The RockHounds will wrap up the home stand at 6:30 Tuesday back at Security Bank Ballpark and will look to salvage a split of the series with Tulsa.

>>Follow Tony Venegas on Twitter at @OA_TVenegas 


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