After Redbirds’ grand slam, Express smack a speedy reply
ROUND ROCK — It won’t go down as a grand slam, but Collin DeLome and the Express won’t care much.
Off DeLome’s bat in the bottom of the seventh inning, the ball seemed destined for the left-center field bullpen, which would have been a four-run shot to match the one Memphis’ Allen Craig hit earlier in the inning to pull the Redbirds within 7-6. But DeLome’s drive dipped and swerved and crashed off the top of the wall, for a three-run double.
“I’ll take it,” DeLome said with a smile. “I got to watch (Brian) Bogusevic hitting before me, and I saw (Memphis pitcher Renyel Pinto) was throwing a lot of fastballs. My approach was to get a fastball and try to drive it.”
As Drew Locke raced home from first base on DeLome’s hit, just ahead of the throw, he kicked the ball out of catcher Matt Pagnozzi’s hand and down the first base line. DeLome — just back from a lengthy span on the disabled list after a home plate collision in May — didn’t need to bowl anyone over this time, scoring comfortably to restore Round Rock’s big lead.
“It’s nice to show we can get it right back,” DeLome said. “It’s all about momentum.”
The Express held on for a 11-6 victory, breaking a sevengame losing streak that featured three consecutive onerun losses to the Redbirds.
After a month that’s largely been filled with missed opportunities and stranded baserunners, the Express offense finally made its chances count. Round Rock took a first-inning lead and scored in double digits for the first time since a May 18 loss to Colorado, 11-10.
The Express gave starter Andy Van Hekken a 7-0 lead as the lanky lefty cruised through his first six innings. Van Hekken got into trouble in the seventh, allowing two runs and leaving the game with the bases loaded and two outs.
Yorman Bazardo then allowed Craig’s grand slam to let Memphis back in the game.
After DeLome’s clutch hit, Bazardo and T.J. Burton finished off Memphis with scoreless eighth and ninth innings.