Mike Hessman continued a late-season power surge Friday night, hitting his 34th homer of the season to help the Oklahoma City RedHawks whip the Round Rock Express 11-5 before 9,886 fans at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Oklahoma City (76-64) did its part to stay in the Pacific Coast League pennant race, winning its sixth straight. The RedHawks were likely to remain 11/2 games behind South division leader Albuquerque, which was hammering Omaha 9-2 in the seventh inning at press time. Oklahoma City has three remaining games against a last-place Round Rock team at the Brick, including a 7:05 p.m. game Saturday; Albuquerque has three games left with Omaha, which has already clinched the North division championship.
The South division champion will play Omaha in a first-round playoff series.
Hessman's two-run homer came in the fourth inning, which helped the RedHawks take a commanding 11-1 lead. J.B. Shuck finished with two doubles and an RBI, and Carlos Corporan had a three-run double for the Hawks.
RedHawks starter Rudy Owens improved to 2-3. He allowed Round Rock's only run on four hits and no walks. Owens struck out three in six innings.