Back in 2001, Carlos Pena hit 23 home runs for the RedHawks on his way to the majors. Thirteen years later, in an attempt to make it back to the majors, Pena supplied a game-winning homer against his former team, lifting Round Rock to a 2-1 win over Oklahoma City on Thursday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Recently designated for assignment by the Texas Rangers, Pena slammed a two-out, opposite-field, ninth-inning homer that landed in the RedHawks bullpen. A 36-year-old first baseman, Pena was a first-round pick when the RedHawks were associated with the Rangers.
Round Rock went up 1-0 in the third when Ryan Strausborger singled, stole second and scored on Luis Sardinas’ RBI single. The RedHawks tied it in the bottom of the inning. Max Stassi drew a leadoff walk, was sacrificed to second and scored on Joe Sclafani’s RBI single.
Right-hander Asher Wojciechowski, one of the Houston Astros‘ top pitching prospects, still is looking for his first win this season after going 11-8 last year between Triple-A Oklahoma City and Double-A Corpus Christi.
Wojciechowski, 0-3, was the tough-luck loser. Pitching out of the bullpen, Wojciechowski retired 12 of the 13 hitters he faced. The only hitter to reach safety was Pena, who homered. Wojciechowski was sidelined the first two months by a strained ribcage muscle.
WHITE PITCHES WELL
Sidelined the entire 2013 season following Tommy John elbow surgery, RedHawks right-hander starter Alex White, a first-round pick, turned in his longest outing of the season. Throwing 86 pitches, White went five innings, allowing one run on three hits.
Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the best home streak in franchise history. Posting a 10-6 win over Iowa on July 26, 2013, the RedHawks finished 12-0 on the homestand and extended the streak to 17 consecutive games.
Remarkably, the RedHawks went nearly a month (27 days) without losing at home before the streak ended on Aug. 22.
Led by Austin Wates’ Pacific Coast League-leading 28 stolen bases, the RedHawks rank fourth in steals (86)... Catcher Carlos Perez had his 11-game hitting streak snapped. During the streak Perez raised his average from .220 to .263... All-Star right-hander Nick Tropeano, second in the PCL with a 2.38 ERA, is expected to return to the rotation on the upcoming road trip.
HIT THE ROAD
The RedHawks begin an eight-game road trip Friday night at Nashville followed by a four-game trip to Round Rock. Recently promoted from Double-A, left-hander Tommy Shirley (0-1, 8.03 ERA) will start the opener for OKC. Nashville counters with right-hander Taylor Jungmann (4-5, 5.64).
The RedHawks will return home the first weekend of August for a nine-game homestand. OKC will host Colorado Springs (Aug. 2-5) followed by five games against the division-leading Iowa Cubs (Aug. 7-11).