Round Rock, TX – Nick Solak (.444/.500/.667) hit a three run homer and Leody Tavaras (.243/.332/.455) laced four hits as part of a 13 hit attack leading the Round Rock Express to a 6-3 home win over the Oklahoma City Dodgers Saturday night in a highly anticipated matchup at Dell Diamond.
Jason Bahr (2-1, 11.16) pitched 2 innings in relief picked up the win, while Dodger reliever and Lubback native Ryan Mosely (2-5) took the loss, played in a brisk 2:52 in front of 5,590 fans in Round Rock.
Round Rock started newly acquired right-handed pitcher Glenn Otto (7-3, 3.35) who gave up two runs on five hits, lasting five innings but did not factor in the decision, despite having left with the lead. The 25 year-old Otto was acquired with three other players in a trade deadline deal that sent 2-time Texas Rangers All-Star Joey Gallo to the New York Yankees on July 29th. Saturday’s start was just Otto’s third career Triple-A start, with his first two coming for Scranton Wilkes-Barre of the Triple-A East(East?). Otto’s appeared in 14 games for the AA Somerset Patriots prior to his promotion in the Yankee system to AAA on July 13th.
Getting to experience somewhat of a homecoming the Spring, TX native, drafted out of Rice. overcame some early game jitters giving up no runs while facing the minimum nine batters – assisted by a double play & a dandy stolen base attempt cut down by Yohel Pozo – over his final three innings. Otto threw 87 pitches, 55 for strike, finished with a 5:3 K/BB ratio while enduring a somewhat tight strike zone.
Otto, staked to 3-2 lead thanks to a Tavaras 2-run double in the bottom of the fifth, was replaced in the sixth inning by Bahr who promptly went walk, single (with a Carl Chester error advancing the runners) followed by a Omar Estevez sac fly scoring Yoshi Tsutsugo, ultimately blowing the save opportunity. Bahr ended his evening by going three up, three down in the 7th.
Damage having been done, Bahr was bailed out and allowed to steal a win when the top third of the order came up in the bottom half of the seventh, led with a single from Delino DeShields, followed by a sharply hit Tavares infield single. Solak capped the scoring on the night with his 3-run dinger, his first in an Express uniform. The top third combo of DeShields, Tavares and Solak finished the night a combined 9 for 14, led by Tavares’ 4-5 night. Tavares and Solak each had 3 RBI to account for all of six of Round Rock’s runs.
Jake Lemoine (5-3, 2 Sv, 3.22) came on to pitch the eighth and ninth innings, giving up one hit and striking out three in picking up his second save of the 2021 campaign.
The Express improve their record to 37-38, good for third place, six games back of the Sugar Land Skeeters who split a double header with El Paso Saturday night. The OKC Dodgers see their record fall to 38-37, one game ahead of Round Rock and five games behind Sugar Land in the (still unstably named) Triple-A West East. With the win Round Rock takes a 2-1 edge going into game four of this six game series and an 8-7 advantage half of the way thru the season long “Red Dirt Series” with twelve of the remaining 15 games to be played at OKC’s Bricktown Ballpark.
The Express paid homage to Austin’s entry in the Texas Negro Leagues, the Austin Black Senators, one of the very earliest professional teams not only in the Texas Negro Leagues, but in all of organized baseball, to call Central Texas home. The 5,690 in attendance were treated to a sharp remake of the Black Senators red and black pinstripe uniforms and a post game concert from Kydd Jones, while the Nolan Ryan Foundation announced that they are re-establishing a memorial scholarship at Huston-Tillotson in the name of Austin native and Black Senator legend, Willie Wells. Wells is known for having been a mentor to Dodger Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, the first Black player in Major League history. Wells is also credited with having developed the batting helmet in 1942.
Speaking of Helmets
In a scary moment in the bottom of the sixth, Express second baseman Ryan Dorow (.202/.326/.319) was hit in the head on a Corey Knebel fastball. Knebel, making his 3rd rehab appearance for the Dodgers was regularly hitting 92-94 on his fastball prior to plunking Dorow seemed bothered and clearly sighed a deep breath upon seeing Dorow get back up. Dorow, fortunate to have added a jaw guard prior to the season, stayed in and completed the game.
Sunday will bring 4th game of the series and it matches LHP Hyeon-Jong Yang (0-1, 5.68) for the Express against Yefry Ramirez (3-3, 5.49) for the Dodgers. First pitch at Dell Diamond is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.
As always, some are really good, some aren’t and some are edited but most of the originals are in. For whatever reason the Cloud puts them out of order. It may have something to do with the editing but who knows?