MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL: RockHounds close series with third straight victory

MIDLAND Through the first half of a 12-game home stand, the Midland RockHounds have tried to make the of their home field advantage.

After getting off to a slow start, Midland’s bats came alive late to secure a 5-3 victory over the Frisco RoughRiders Sunday at Momentum Bank Ballpark.

The victory clinched the series for the RockHounds and also extended their winning streak to three games.

“We pitched absolutely phenomenal and played great defense,” RockHounds manager Bobby Crosby said. “Our bats were on at times, at times we had to battle but taking four of six from a team that’s in first place and doing what they’re doing, I’m pretty happy about it.”

Both teams started off strong defensively, keeping each other off the scoreboard through the game’s first two innings.

Josh Stowers gave Frisco its first breakthrough of the game in the top of the third inning with a home run to right field to make it 1-0.

The score stayed that way until the bottom of the fifth inning when Jeremy Eierman pulled the RockHounds even at 1-1 with a home run of his own.

Jhonny Santos gave Midland the lead for good when he scored on a sacrifice fly the following inning.

Jared Koenig made the most of his time as the starting pitcher for the RockHounds and finished his day allowing just one run and three hits while striking out four in six innings.

Midland’s Jared Koenig (39) follows through on a pitch against the Frisco RoughRiders Sunday at Momentum Bank Ballpark in Midland. (Chris Amaya|Odessa American)

Midland (13-11 overall) took firm control of the contest in the bottom of the seventh by adding three runs to go up 5-1 late. Jonah Bride led the RockHounds with two runs batted in.

Although the RoughRiders (14-9) scored runs in both the eighth and ninth innings, the RockHounds were able to hold on Montana DuRapau earned the save.

Eierman was happy to see his teammates string together base hits after they were hard to come by at points in the series against Frisco.

“It felt good to power through the wind, get it out and get us going,” he said.

The RockHounds have split their time evenly at home and on the road through the first 24 games of the season.

That changes this week as Midland is set to host the Corpus Christi Hooks, marking the first time Midland will host consecutive home series. The six-game series begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday back at Momentum Bank Ballpark.

Crosby said he feels like his team can take advantage of being at home again.

“We know how the park plays,” he said. “We feel like we definitely have an advantage.”

For the first time this year, the team will use its specified travel day to spend time with friends and family.

Eierman said his team has to keep doing what works if it wants to get positive results in its upcoming series.

Following up strong pitching with timely base hits will be a key for the RockHounds moving forward.

“It feels better having a crowd root for you than against you,” he added.

>>Follow Chris Amaya on Twitter at @OA_CAmaya


RockHounds 5, RoughRiders 3

Frisco………… 001  000 011   —     3      5     0

Midland……… 000  011  30x   —     5      8     1

A.J. Alexy, Hever Bueno (5), Scott Engler (6), Cole Uvila (7), Kelvin Gonzalez (8) and Matt Whatley. Jared Koenig, Brett Graves (7), Aaron Brown (8), Montana DuRapau (9) and Collin Theroux. W — Koenig. L — Bueno. Sv — DuRapau. 2B — Frisco: Jake Hoover. HR — Frisco: Josh Stowers, Sherten Apostel. Midland: Jeremy Eierman.

Records — Frisco 14-9; Midland 13-11.