ROUND ROCK, Texas – The defending Pacific Coast League champion Memphis Redbirds took an 8-1 lead over the Round Rock Express (Rangers) en route to an 8-4 win in the season opener Thursday night in Round Rock, Texas.
Dating back to the final two games of the 2016 season, Memphis (1-0) is now 17-2 against Round Rock (0-1) after going 14-2 against the Express in 2017. Memphis has won six of its last seven season-opening games.
Adolis Garcia and Max Schrock homered for the Redbirds, and Rangel Ravelo was 3-for-4 with three runs scored. Patrick Wisdom was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI, and seven Redbirds had a hit in the game. Carson Kelly was 2-for-4 with a run.
John Gant tossed 6.0 solid innings, giving up just one run on six hits, and he struck out five. In his two starts against the Express including last season, Gant has allowed two runs on 11 hits in 12.0 innings, and he has fanned 12.
Garcia’s 2nd-inning blast was a two-run shot that gave the Redbirds a 2-0 lead, and Schrock added a three-run home run in the 6th as part of a five-run Memphis inning.
Daniel Poncedeleon returned to regular-season action for the first time since suffering a season-ending and career-threatening injury last May after being hit in the head by a line drive, working the 7th inning and giving up one hit.
The Redbirds were helped by two outfield assists, with Tyler O’Neill and Garcia both throwing out a runner at the plate.
Oscar Mercado made his Triple-A debut batting leadoff and walked, stole a base, and scored a run.
The season-opening series at Round Rock continues tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. (CT). After the brief five-game road trip, the Redbirds home opener is set for Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. against the Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals).