The Brazos Valley Bombers earned a come-from-behind 6-4 victory Tuesday night in Wichita Falls against the Roughnecks in a battle of first place teams. The win pushed Brazos Valley’s lead in the Speaker Division to a full game, pending the outcome of the Coppell Copperheads’ game.
Just as impressive as a win against the Hornsby Division’s top squad was the fact that the Bombers got some impressive help from some unlikely sources. Reliever Brice Ary (1-1) took the mound to open the fifth inning with the Bombers already down 4-1. All Ary did was pitch four innings of shutout baseball, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out five. More importantly, he held the Roughnecks offense at bay and gave the B’s the opportunity to score five unanswered runs to steal the victory.
The comeback was keyed in part by Kyle Sisney, who reached base in each of his five plate appearances. The Bombers second baseman went 3-for-3 with a double, two walks, two runs scored, and two stolen bases.
Entering the game, Sisney had been mired in a 1-for-28 slump, and Ary was just coming off a relief appearance in which he allowed seven runs. Ary earned his first win of the season on Tuesday night, and Sisney’s outburst improved his batting average by 47 points.
With the score 4-3 entering the eighth inning, Sisney led off with a single and promptly stole second. TJ Mittelstaedt singled to center field, tying the score at four apiece. Keith Stein sacrificed Mittelstaedt to second, and the Roughnecks responded by intentionally walking the white-hot Jess Buenger. Mark McGonigle then struck out for the first out of the inning.
Wichita Falls followed with a strategic move that backfired badly. With runners on first and second and Will Basom coming to the plate, most teams would be playing at double play depth looking for a chance to end the rally and the inning. Basom had already rung up two singles in the game, but he also grounded into a double play in the third inning. But the Roughnecks treated Basom with kid gloves and gave him a free pass, loading the bases for Blake Walker. Walker drew a walk to force Mittelstaedt across for the go-ahead run, and then Joseph Towns was hit by a pitch to score Buenger and give the B’s some insurance.
The Bombers had closed to within a run in the sixth inning when Stein plated Sisney and Mittelstaedt with his second double of the game. Stein was 4-for-5 on the evening with two RBI.
Wichita Falls opened up leads of 2-0 and 4-1 off of starting pitcher Clint Helms, who was in trouble from the early going. Making his first start since throwing the TCL’s first no-hitter on July 10, Helms surrendered eight hits and four walks against four strikeouts in four innings. He was relieved by Adam Albright, who retired the side in the fifth inning on eight pitches to halt the Roughnecks offense.
The Bombers pounded out 13 hits Tuesday, nearly matching the 16 hits they registered in a 13-5 win in Wichita Falls on June 11. Basom was 2-for-4, as was Buenger, who is now 9-for-17 (.529 average) with six walks since joining Brazos Valley.
The B’s will return to Brazos Valley Bank Ballpark on Wednesday for another makeup game against the Copperheads. The Bombers will also host a pre-game matchup of baseball teams representing the Bryan fire and police departments. The gates will open at a special 5 pm time, with the police vs. fire battle beginning at 5:30. The Bombers first pitch will be at 7:05.
Thursday marks the final Thirsty Thursday of the Bombers regular season. Fans will be able to enjoy one dollar draft beers and 50-cent small soft drinks throughout the game, courtesy of Jack FM.
Friday might just be the biggest blockbuster to date. After setting the league single-game attendance record on Opening Night, the Bombers have seen the mark taken back by the McKinney Marshalls. The B’s have vowed to write a new record in the books on Friday, July 20, and need the help of Bombers fans everywhere. The team wants to pack the park and has booked not one, but two big promotions to make it possible. Friday will be Fireworks Friday, so the game will be followed by a spectacular fireworks show. During the game, Reggy! The Entertainer, the biggest, baddest, purplest party dude on the planet, will visit to make it a night to remember.