Chihuahuas Rally to Take Game One Over Sounds
It was 4-0 as the Nashville Sounds were leading up to the fifth inning. The Chihuahuas hadn't recorded a hit and starting pitching Walker Lockett was struggling early on.
But the Chihuahuas rallied at the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring four runs and then two more in the seventh and eighth inning. It looked over; 6-4 was the count in favor of the Chihuahuas. Yet, the Sounds rallied back, scoring two runs at the top of the ninth to tie the game, 6-6.
First baseman Allen Craig hit a floater just over first base to send the game-winning run home and hit a walk-off RBI for the Chihuahuas, giving them the 7-6 win on Wednesday.
“Without a doubt,” said Manager Rod Barajas as to whether or not he thought Craig’s hit would be a walk-off. “We had a slow start, but he loved that opportunity.”
Prior to the game-tying run, Craig had hit 0-for-4 on the night. Still, he was the team’s most consistent hitter, batting .302 in 29 games since April and, with the walk-off hit, is riding a nine-game hitting streak.
“That’s just how the game goes,” Craig said. “Glad I got the right spot and knew it was game.”
El Paso starting pitcher Walter Lockett allowed three hits in the first two innings, making him look rattled by the Nashville hitters. At the top of the third, Nick Martini of the Sounds hit a solo shot to right field. Ramon Laureano scored off a wild pitch from third, and Nashville took the 2-0 early lead. It was Laureano again who scored at the top of the fifth for Nashville, followed by Anthony Garcia hitting a sac fly to bring in Martini for a 4-0 lead.
With bases loaded at the bottom of the fifth, Nick Schulz walked to bring in a run. Forrestt Allday hit a deep sacrifice fly to bring in Javy Guerra, and Nashville committed an error on the throw, resulting in another run scored. A Carlos Asuaje grounder drove in a run to end the inning with a tied ball game, 4-4.
“Didn’t really know how the game was going to go,” Barajas said. “This game is crazy and I didn’t expect four runs in that inning.”
The Chihuahuas scored in back-to-back innings during the seventh and eighth innings, including an RBI single by Asuaje and a solo shot by Brett Nicholas, respectively.
But it was Laureano, the Chihuahuas’ achilles heel throughout the night, who rallied Nashville at the top of the ninth, as he hit an RBI double, followed by Franklin Barreto, who hit a sac fly to bring Laureano home.
Craig would ultimately save the game with his two-out, bases loaded RBI single, which was the team’s third walk-off win of the year. Kyle McGrath took the win (2-2) for the Chihuahuas, while Bobby Wahl (3-2) lost the game for Nashville.
"At home we haven't been a good ball club," Barajas said. "We need to take care of this place. We need to be better."
El Paso has won four of its last five games to reach .500 (33-33), which is the first time since May 30. Five of their last eight games have been decided by one run.
Next up, San Diego Padres outfielders Wil Myers and Franchy Cordero will be added to the Chihuahuas roster Thursday on MLB injury rehab. The first pitch for Thursday’s game is set for 7:05 pm at Southwest University Park. The game will air on 600 ESPN El Paso and www.epchihuahuas.com.