BRYAN, Texas (June 3, 2021) — With two outs and loaded bases, and over a thousand screaming fans behind their backs, the Brazos Valley Bombers walked-off the Baton Rouge Rougarou on Opening Night at Edible Field.
Thursday’s matchup featured the first meeting of the season between the two teams, ending with a final score of 3-2 in favor of the Bombers. Offensive standouts, fielding dominance and a first-class showing from the bullpen culminated in the Bombers’ first win at home in 2021. The Brazos Valley’s lowest-scoring victory of the year guarantees that Friday’s follow-up will be an action-packed night filled with great baseball and an even better fireworks presentation.
Bombers head coach James Dillard said this was exactly the type of night the team has come to expect every time they step onto the turf diamond.
“We had some Bombers Magic tonight,” Dilalrd said. “That’s just who we are. When we show up to play, we expect to win. We’re still beating that into our players, and these guys are starting to see and believe it. That’s our culture.”
Not wanting to waste any time in the first inning, Bombers leadoff batter Daniel Altman notched a single with a duck snort over the Rougarou shortstop’s head. After getting into prime scoring position by stealing both second and third base, Altman scored on a ground ball by third baseman Zane Schmidt.
The next five innings remained scoreless until Schmidt and catcher Ryan Snell combined hits to bring home Altman for the second time on the night. Snell added the RBI to his already-impressive TCL resume, setting the score at two 2-0. Altman, eventually recognized as the team’s Player of the Game for his two hits, two runs and two stolen bases, said he never felt pressure to overperform in the team’s victory.
“I was just trying to play freely,” Altman said. “When you’re out there, having fun is all you can do. It worked out and things feel great.”
The Rougarou evened things in the bottom of the seventh. The first three batters found their way on, loading the bases with zero outs. A double to right field knotted the score at two, but pitcher Zach Griggs forced two punch outs and tagged a runner attempting to steal home to end the inning.
After looking up at the 2-2 tie displayed on the right field scoreboard in the bottom of the ninth, Bombers pinch hitter Troy Viola stepped up to the plate. Pinch runner Garrison Weiss took over after Viola made it to first base, then worked his way around to third. With two outs, Schmidt recorded the game-winning RBI, bringing Weiss home to secure the walk-off.
The Bombers were able to win with just three runs thanks to their performance on the mound. Pitchers Griggs, Andrew Hill, Mason Brandenberger, Johnny Cheatwood and Zach Poe each recorded multiple strikeouts to bring the night’s total up to a season-high of 17. Together, they averaged an unbelievable 2.00 pitching ERA. Brandenberger, who led the night by retiring six batters at the plate, said the bullpen worked in perfect harmony to accomplish this insurmountable feat.
“It felt great to go in and just do my job,” Brandenberger said. “I always do anything I can to help my guys win. Everybody else did their jobs, too. We’ve got a great pitching staff, so tonight was just incredible.”
Even more important than the win on the field, the Bombers took time to recognize hundreds of local community heroes — volunteers of the Brazos County COVID-19 Vaccination Hub. With the help of the American Red Cross, the navy and gold were able to give thanks for the support provided to help the team return to normalcy.
With Thursday’s Home Opener in the books, the Bombers climb to a 3-2 record on the season, and the Rougarou continue to search for their first win with a newly-updated resume of 0-3. Game two in the series is scheduled for Friday, June 3 at Edible Field, with opening pitch set for 7:05 p.m. Dillard said fans can expect what he hopes will be the team’s first sweep of the summer.
“It will be another pitching standoff,” Dillard said. “They’re putting a really good guy onto the rubber, but so are we. I’m confident we can come away on the right end of that.”
For tickets and updates on the Bombers 2021 season, fans are encouraged to call (979) 779-PLAY or visit www.bvbombers.com. To follow all upcoming news and developments for the Brazos Valley Bombers, follow the team on facebook.com/bvbombers, Twitter: @BV_Bombers and Instagram: @bvbombers.
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