Late rally comes up short as Express fall to Sky Sox

Newly-acquired catcher Tony Sanchez picks up first hit in Round Rock


Tony Sanchez was told he was traded one week ago. 

The veteran’s first hit with the Express sent Sunday’s game into extra innings, but Round Rock lost to the Colorado Springs Sky Sox 6-5 in 10 innings. The teams combined to score seven runs in the extra inning. 

“It’s been tough,” he said. “My wife was happy I could fly to Louisville and pack up the apartment we just unpacked. It doesn’t matter how many at-bats you have, you can’t feel sorry for yourself. But that’s part of professional baseball. If you don’t like it, go find a desk job.”

Sanchez was traded from the Cincinnati organization for a player to be named later or cash. The Rangers are the sixth organization he’s since being released by the Pirates in early 2016. He was the fourth overall pick in the June 2009 draft. 

Reed Garrett took the loss for Round Rock, allowing four runs — three earned — on five hits in 0.2 innings of work. 

“He made some good pitches, but they were putting the barrel on the ball,” Sanchez said. “It’s tough to end a ballgame like that.”

Yohander Mendez (0-3, 5.57 ERA) allowed one run on five hits with five strikeouts over six innings in his fourth start of the season. Two of the 23-year-old lefty’s losses have come at Dell Diamond. 

“(Mendez) threw the ball well, he located his fastball in and threw his off-speed pitches for strikes,” Sanchez said. “He pitched deep into the game. It’s early for me and I’m just trying to establish myself behind the plate and earn their trust.”

Round Rock scored five runs in the seventh inning to take the first game of the series 6-1on Saturday night. Jose Cardona hit a 3-run home run — the first of his Triple-A career — in the win. 

Colorado Springs designated hitter Christian Bethancourt launched his third home run of the season in the fourth inning, a solo shot off Mendez that cleared the right-field wall, to give the Sky Sox a one-run lead. 

Outfielder Scott Heineman dove for a fly ball to right field in the seventh inning, but it got past him and the triple extended Colorado Springs’ lead. 

Willie Calhoun hit a solo home run in the eighth inning. Tony Sanchez followed up a triple by Christian Lopes with a single to tie the game at two runs apiece and force extra innings for the second time this season. 

Colorado Springs scored five runs on four hits in the 10th inning to take a 6-2 lead. Round Rock responded with three runs on three hits in the bottom half of the inning. Nick Noonan popped out to end the game with the bases loaded. 

“I’ve been around a lot of teams and a lot of guys, but my first thoughts are that there is a lot of talent,” Sanchez said. “I like what I see early from the staff and there are guys in the lineup that can swing the bat. But it’s April and it’s still early.”

The Express wrap up their three-game series with the Sky Sox Monday at 7:05 p.m. they then hit the road for a 10-day, nine-game road trip beginning Wednesday night in Memphis and continuing in New Orleans. 

“You can’t worry about the road trip until you play the game tomorrow,” Sanchez said. 

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