The Brazos Valley Bombers welcomed the Wichita Falls Roughnecks to town for a two-game series between the TCL’s two first-place teams, winning the opener Tuesday night, 3-2. Mark McGonigle scored the go-ahead run in the fourth inning and the Bombers’ bullpen delivered five innings of scoreless relief to gain the victory.
The win keeps Brazos Valley atop the Speaker Division, maintaining a one game lead over the Colleyville LoneStars, who also won Tuesday night. The Coppell Copperheads slipped to 2½ games back, with the Duncanville Deputies in fourth place 3½ games out. The top two teams in the division qualify for the playoffs.
The Bombers drew first blood on the Roughnecks, scoring two in the third inning. Ryan Weber delivered a one-out single to get things going. TJ Mittelstaedt followed with a bouncer that Roughnecks second baseman John Dao charged, hoping to double up the Bombers. Instead the ball took a home hop, bouncing over Daos glove for a single, moving Weber to third. Keith Stein drove a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Weber and giving the B’s the first lead of the game. With Jess Buenger at the plate, Mittelstaedt broke for second while Wichita Falls pitcher Corey Harness uncorked a wild pitch, allowing the Bombers left fielder to move up to third. Buenger promptly drove a strong single to center, scoring Mittelstaedt and doubling the Brazos Valley margin.
Wichita Falls came back with a pair in the top of the fourth off of starting pitcher Scooter Hicks. A hard grounder off the chest of first baseman Will Basom allowed the first run to cross, then an RBI single with two runners on tied the score.
Brazos Valley took the lead back in the home half of the fourth, this time for good.. McGonigle led off with a strong single to left. Harness checked over several times, keeping McGonigle close, before throwing wildly to first to move the Bombers right fielder up a base. Daman Aaron drove a single to right and McGonigle rounded third heading for home, sliding in just under the tag at the plate to give the B’s another lead.
The B’s opened the fifth inning with Adam Albright (2-0) on the mound, lifting Hicks after just four innings of work. Hicks left after allowing four hits and two runs, none of them earned, with two walks and three strikeouts. Since he didn’t go the required five innings, Hicks didn’t qualify for the decision, which instead went to Albright.
Albright ducked in and out of trouble for two innings of work, but left unscathed and with the 3-2 lead intact. Wichita Falls put a pair of runners on base in the fifth before Albright induced an inning-ending double play. In the sixth, the Roughnecks loaded the bases with one out, but again Albright was up to the task. He struck out pinch-hitter RJ Harris, then got All-Star Jason Seefeld to ground to short, where Weber made a nice place ranging to his left to end the inning.
Evan Cox took the hill in the seventh inning and held Wichita Falls at bay. He retired the side in the seventh and allowed just a walk in the eighth. When he walked one batter and hit another to put a pair of runners on with two outs in the ninth, Tyler Davis came on for a two-pitch save, his fifth of the season.
The two teams combined for just 13 hits, with the Bombers posting only six of them. Buenger led the B’s with two hits and an RBI in four at-bats.
The Bombers return to Brazos Valley Bank Ballpark for a rematch with the Roughnecks on Tuesday night at 7:05 pm. The game is Firemen Appreciation Night, for which firemen who show their badge or ID receive a discount of one dollar on any ticket.
The B’s will take to the road Thursday and Friday for a pair of important divisional games, first against Coppell and then in Colleyville. Following a well-deserved day off on Saturday, the Bombers return home for a pair with Duncanville. Sunday’s 3:05 pm game is another Bomb Squad Kids Club game, with all kids attending the game receiving a gift card for a free ice cream cone at McDonald’s, presented by Mix 104.7. Monday, July 31 is College Night, when anyone who presents a college ID gets a ticket for just one dollar, presented by Candy 95.
Not to be forgotten on the Bombers schedule is Saturday, August 4 – Acie Law Bobblehead Giveaway. The Bombers will be taking on Colleyville in the first game of a weekend series to close out the regular season, but most fans will be interested in what’s being given away at the door. The first 500 fans through the gate will receive a miniature bobblehead likeness of the former Texas A&M All-American basketball player, now a first round draft choice of the Atlanta Hawks. This exciting giveaway has had fans buzzing ever since it was announced. It is the first Brazos Valley merchandise item with Law’s likeness and it is sure to be a hot commodity, so fans are encouraged to get tickets early so they don’t miss out.
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