For the first time maybe all season, the Express switched on the cruise control.
Round Rock score five runs in the second inning to jump out to an early lead and starter Chris Jensen allowed one run over five innings as the Express beat the Omaha Storm Chasers 7-1 to win their season-best fourth game in a row.”
“Tonight was great both pitching and offense and that’s pretty much what you want from start to finish,” Express designated hitter Hunter Cole said. “You’ve got to tip your cap to Jensen for giving us that many innings.”
Cole finished the night with a pair of hits, including his fifth home run of the season, and a pair of RBIs. Outfielder Drew Robinson went 3-for-5 with two RBIs while third baseman Andy Ibanez had two hits and scored a pair of runs with one RBI.
The lone run Jensen (1-0, 6.15 ERA) allowed in his first start of the season came on a passed ball in the first inning and he finished with a pair of walks and no strikeouts. Tayler Scott and Brady Feigl combined to give up no runs on four hits the rest of the way.
“It affects the infielders more so, but you’ve still got to be ready,” Cole said of Jensen’s contact pitching approach. “Even some strikeouts guys, some days they’ll roll out there and punch out 10 and others they just get a couple. You’ve got to make plays behind them.
Round Rock is returning from a four-game road trip during which it won three of four games against the Nashville Sounds. The Express are 20-19 on the road compared to 14-23 at Dell Diamond.
“I don’t think anyone likes to lose all the time,” Cole said. “We go out there every day and try and compete. (Express manager Jason Wood) puts up the lineup every day and we play for our teammates. As long as you do that, you’ll develop as a professional and be ready for the next level.”
The Storm Chasers scored the first run of the game on a passed ball in the first inning.
Calhoun opened the scoring for Round Rock in the second, racing home on an error by the Omaha catcher. Cole jacked a two-run home run in the next at-bat and Drew Robinson plated two more runs with a sharp single up the middle.
Juan Centeno doubled to the corner in right field and Andy Ibanez chugged home from first base to extend the Round Rock lead to 6-1.
Andy Ibanez hit a solo home run — his sixth of the year — to give the Express a 7-1 lead in the fifth inning.
The Express and Storm Chasers face off again Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. with Michael Roth (2-1, 3.72 ERA) expected to toe the rubber for Round Rock. The two teams continue their series with games on Wednesday and Thursday before the Colorado Springs Sky Sox come to town for five games beginning Friday night.
“I say we just need to keep finding barrels,” Cole said. “It’s fun to hit and it takes pressure off the pitchers. They can go out and they don’t have to be perfect. We can keep getting some big innings and we’ll be fine going into the All-Star break.”