Bryan -- The Brazos Valley Bombers game with the Wichita Falls Roughnecks on Wednesday afternoon was a close affair through six innings, with the Roughnecks holding a slim 3-1 lead at Brazos Valley Bank Ballpark.
The seventh inning changed everything, when the Roughnecks sent 12 batters to the plate and scored eight runs to take a commanding 11-1 lead. The Bombers responded with a rally of their own, scoring four to close the gap to 11-5. Another Brazos Valley run in the ninth inning wasn’t enough and left the Bombers with an 11-6 final score.
The pivotal seventh inning saw began with Bombers starter Will Currier (2-2) still on the mound. After a pair of walks and a sacrifice, Currier was lifted for reliever Evan Cox, who struggled. Cox faced three batter and gave up three hits, then was quickly replace by reliever Brice Ary. Ary fought his way through the remainder of the inning, but three more hits helped the Roughnecks post a total of eight runs in the frame.
In the home half, the Bombers worked to generate a comeback. Keith Stein and Ryan Weber sandwiched a Joseph Towns strikeout to put two runners on. After Kip Masuda flied out, pinch-hitter Blake Walker drove an RBI single through the right side. TJ Mittelstaedt, who had two costly errors in the top of the eighth, walked to load the bases. Daman Aaron then stepped to the plate and was plunked, earning an RBI the hard way. Mark McGonigle followed with a single to plate Mittelstaedt and Walker. A Wichita Falls pitching change proved effective, though, as Robert Young coaxed Will Basom into a lazy flyout.
In the ninth, McGonigle posted a two-out single, followed by an RBI double by Basom.
The Roughnecks scored a run in the first and picked up two more in the second off Currier before he settled down. He retired 11 straight from the end of the second to sixth inning, then ran out of gas in the seventh.
The Bombers picked up a run in the third off the bat of Mittelstaedt, whose first home run of the season landed in the nearby Little League field over the right field fence.
The Brazos Valley offense generated nine hits on the game, led by McGonigle’s 3-for-4 outing. Towns also went 2-for-4, and Mittelstaedt scored a pair of runs.
The Bombers go on the road for the next three games before beginning a four-day layoff for the All-Star break. Six Bombers players will be taking part in the TCL All-Star Game on Monday, July 9 – Whitmer and Towns have been named starters, and Basom is joined by pitcher Tyler Davis, McGonigle at designated hitter, and Stein in the outfield as reserves.
Brazos Valley will return to action for a blockbuster three-game stretch at home, featuring Thirsty Thursday on July 12, Fireworks Friday on July 13, and Bombers T-shirt Giveaway Night on July 14.