The Frisco RoughRiders, Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, lose 5-1 to the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. In a game that came with plenty of drama, Frisco failed to perform offensively. Unfortunately for the RoughRiders, low offensive production has become a regular occurrence.
Connor Sadzeck took the hill for the RoughRiders. He tossed 5.0 innings, and gave up three runs (all earned) on nine hits. Sadzeck gave up one walk, one home run, and was able to notch six strikeouts. In the first inning, Sadzeck looked his best. Allowing one single, he finished with three punch outs. It seemed to go downhill for him, and the RoughRiders, from there. A tough second inning, which featured seven batters, appeared to have rattled the 25-year-old righty.
Jose Leclerc, on a rehab assignment with the RoughRiders from the Rangers, came in to relieve Sadzeck. Leclerc tossed one inning, and looked phenomenal. He tossed 17 total pitches, striking out the side. All three batters went down swinging. This was his second rehab start with the RoughRiders, and both have been top-notch performances. He seems to have fully recovered from the bone bruise on his finger.
— Frisco RoughRiders (@RidersBaseball) May 31, 2017
Ryne Slack came in after Leclerc. He tossed two innings, giving up just one hit. The final two Naturals runs came off of Reed Garrett. In the ninth, Garrett gave up two hits and two runs (both earned).
The game’s drama ensued at the end of the third inning. The Frisco RoughRiders leadoff hitter, and leftfielder, Scott Heineman went down on a called strike three. Heineman argued the call, and apparently didn’t get the answer he was looking for. After slamming his helmet to the ground, he was promptly ejected from the game. Heineman continued his rant for a few more moments, before leaving to the locker room. In the commotion, RoughRiders pitcher Joe Filomeno was also ejected from the game. He was arguing and bantering the call from the Frisco bullpen.
The drama continued in the fourth inning. Newly acquired RoughRiders outfielder Peter O’Brien hit a deep shot towards the foul pole in left field. The home plate umpire initially signaled that it was a home run. He did so with confidence, waving his hand in a circular motion in the air. Naturals manager Vance Wilson was quick to argue the call. He made his way to the field, and exchanged several words with the umpire crew. After a brief meeting, the umpires met with RoughRiders manager Joe Mikulik to inform him they were reversing their call.
This sent the Frisco fans into an uproar. Plenty of yelling and heckling towards the home plate umpire, Justin Robinson, endured throughout the remainder of the game.
With the called-back homer aside, the RoughRiders failed to score runs. Jose Trevino had a solid night, going 3-4 with a double and a run. He was the highlight of the team’s offensive production.
Game two of this three-game series will take place tonight. The Northwest Arkansas Naturals, affiliate to the Kansas City Royals, will send Ashton Goudeau (2-4, 3.51 ERA) to the mound. The RoughRiders will have Ariel Jurado (5-3, 3.86 ERA) start.