ROUND ROCK – The Round Rock Express were unable to wrestle the top spot in the PCL American Southern Division away from the Nashville Sounds Sunday as the E-Train fell 10-6 in the rubber match at Dell Diamond.
Round Rock committed two errors in the game, one in the first and another in the eighth that led to four unearned runs for the Sounds (48-43).
With the loss, the Express (45-43) suffered their first series loss since June 5-8 in New Orleans.
Nashville got some help from the Express in the first to take an early 3-0 lead. With one out in the inning, LF Eugenio Velez reached on an error by 1B J.P. Arencibia. The error would come back to bite Round Rock later in the inning as 1B Matt Clark lined a two-out, three-run double into the right-center field gap to put the visitors on top.
The Sounds added two more runs in third and another in the fourth to stretch their advantage out to 6-0. In the third, RF Sean Halton plated the first run with a one-out single before C Shawn Zarraga lifted a sacrifice fly to left with the bases loaded. In the fourth, Halton followed a pair of two-out walks with a base hit to left to give Nashville a six-run cushion.
The Express finally got something going in the home half of the fourth, countering with four runs to cut their deficit to two. DH Jared Hoying walked to begin the inning and moved to second on an Arencibia single. After a strikeout, 3B Ryan Rua doubled home a run ahead of LF Jake Smolinski, who laced a double into the right-center gap to score two more. With LF Ryan Strausborger batting later in the inning, Smolinski scored all the way from second on a wild pitch to make the score 6-4.
Two runs would be as close as Round Rock would come, however, as the Sounds went for a run in the seventh and three in the eighth to put the game out of reach at 10-4. Sounds SS Hector Gomez recorded his third hit of the game in the seventh, a RBI double, to give Nashville a three-run lead. In the eighth, Halton (4-5, 3 RBI), Clark (3-4, 4 RBI) and Zarraga (2-3, 2 RBI), the usual suspects, all collected RBI to double the Sounds advantage.
Round Rock got two runs back in the home half of the eighth, but would draw no closer than four at 10-6. With the bases juiced and no outs, Rua drew a five-pitch walk for his second RBI on the night. With the bases still loaded later in the inning, Bryan Petersen pinch hit for 2B Brent Lillibridge and drove home a run with a sacrifice fly to left. Petersen is 6-for-8 with 18 RBI in bases-loaded situations this season.
E-Train starter RHP Scott Richmond (1-3, 7.46 ERA), who was activated prior to the game, suffered the loss after allowing five runs (two earned) in 2.1 innings. Richmond gave up four hits and walked three in his first outing since June 24.
RHP Ariel Pena (5-6, 4.81 ERA) pitched six innings to earn the win for Nashville. He gave up four runs on five hits, walked two and recorded a season-high 10 strikeouts.
The Express will welcome the Colorado Springs Sky Sox to town Monday to begin a four-game series at Dell Diamond. RHP Justin Germano (3-7, 3.96 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for Round Rock against LHP Brett Anderson (0-0, 0.00 ERA), who will be making his second rehab start with Colorado Springs. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m.
Come on out to the ballpark and enjoy $1 hotdogs and sodas, presented by Mrs. Bairds. For more information on the Express, visit www.RoundRockExpress.com or call (512) 255-2255. Keep up with the Express on Facebook and Twitter!