For the second straight game, one inning was all it took to sink Round Rock.
The Express gave up five runs in the fourth inning, four of which came on a grand slam and could never get anything going from there on, falling 8-3 to the Iowa Cubs Saturday night at Dell Diamond.
“There’s no cause for concern,” Express manager Jason Wood said. “It’s a veteran group and they come in ready to play. We just haven’t had that one big inning that’s sitting out there I know it’s in them and I know it’s going to happen.”
The loss is the fourth in a row for Round Rock, which lost the final three of the four-game series against the Omaha Storm Chasers this week. The Express have been outscored 24-12 during their skid.
Preston Beck paced the Round Rock offense, going 3-for-3 with a RBI and one run scored. Ronald Guzman was 2-for-4 and Travis Snider extended his hitting streak to seven games with a home run.
Tyler Wagner (0-3, 7.71 ERA) was handed his third loss of the season, allowing eight runs, seven earned, on nine hits with three strikeouts. Jimmy Reyes, Wesley Wright, and Preston Claiborne allowed a combined two hits and no runs with seven strikeouts over the final 5.2 innings.
“He hasn’t pitched to his capability,” Wood said. “He was falling behind hitters and it was difficult for him to get back in counts. The three guys out of the bullpen did a fantastic. Claiborne is our closer and we haven’t been able to get the lead to him in the ninth. He was fantastic and the bullpen has done a good job.”
After striking the first batter of the game out, Webster allowed a single and gave up a walk in back-to-back at-bats before a RBI double gave Iowa an early 1-0 lead. The Cubs piled on in the second, hitting a solo home run and a double to extend its lead to 3-0.
Round Rock fought back in the bottom half of the inning. Beck and Brett Hays hit back-to-back singles and Robinson drove in a run with a broken-bat single to right field. Snider then hit a solo home run in the third and Beck drove in Jared Hoying with a single through the right side to tie the game.
But Iowa’s big fourth inning did in the Express, who would only get two more hits the rest of the game.
“We were frustrated that e couldn’t get that guy out,” Beck said. “He hit it just over the fence and those are the worst ones to see. We were playing well and had good momentum. It was a little blow.”
The Express and Cubs continue their four-game set Sunday at 1:05 p.m. and face off again Monday and Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. Round Rock then hits the road for four games at the Memphis Redbirds beginning Thursday night.
“You pretty much do the same thing every day because there’s not much you can change,” Beck said. “We’ve just got to focus better. Whatever aspect that comes up that we’re not executing well, we’ve just got to bear down and do that better.”