ROUND ROCK, Texas – The defending Pacific Coast League champion Memphis Redbirds dropped a 4-2 decision to the Round Rock Express (Rangers) in the finale of a season-opening five-game set Monday night in Round Rock, Texas, with the Redbirds (4-1) falling a game shy of the franchise record for best start to a season set in 1999.
The Redbirds still took four-of-five games from the Express (1-4) and matched the 2001 club for the second-best start in the 21 years of the Redbirds.
Carson Kelly hit his first home run of the season in the 2nd inning, but a four-run Round Rock 6th was the difference in the game. After Daniel Poncedeleon tossed 5.0 shutout innings in his first start since a season-ending and career-threatening injury last May, Sean Gilmartin allowed four runs in the 6th with three coming on a Hanser Alberto home run.
Poncedeleon struck out five and walked four, allowing two hits, in his 5.0 innings. Following Gilmartin, Andrew Morales pitched 2.0 shutout innings to finish the ballgame. He struck out four.
Memphis scored a run in the 7th, with Ramon Urias doubling, moving to third on a wild pitch, and scoring on a Max Schrock single. But the Redbirds could not push anything else across the plate and lost their first game on the campaign.
Schrock was 3-for-4 in the game and stole two bases.
The Redbirds’ eight hits were their fewest this season after having double-digit hits in each of the first four games of the year.
The Redbirds return to AutoZone Park tomorrow night for the home opener at 7:05 p.m. against the Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals), which marks the start of a seven-game homestand against Omaha and the Iowa Cubs (Cubs) running through Monday afternoon. For more information on single-game tickets and ticket mini-memberships, visit www.memphisredbirds.com/tickets.