April 23rd, 2014

RoughRiders ride their way to 10 consecutive victories


A winning streak. Fans love them. Players love them. Jason Wood and his coaching staff love them even more. This RoughRiders club has been organized in such fashion to where Wood and his players know they have a chance to win every night, but over the course of the franchise-record ten game winning streak, the team simply refused to lose. It’s difficult to explain how and why a winning streak happens because, well, it just happens. It happens with preparation, focus and a consistent approach while at the plate and playing the field. Let’s take a look at how the streak came to be and propelled Frisco to the top of the division standings.

April 8, 2014: Arkansas (2) @ Frisco (4)

The game that kicked things off. It was Matt Harrison’s first start after the opening day rain-out where he was only able to throw 42 pitches of his desired 60, and the Rangers’ hurler was ready to put a nice outing together. Harrison pitched 4 2/3 innings, gave up one run on three hits and struck out three. The final game of the home stand was an efficient one and it sent the club on the road with momentum.

April 10, 2014: Frisco (11) @ NW Arkansas (7)

Frisco used the long ball to open up the road trip by hitting four two-run homers in one game. Drew Robinson, Jordan Brown, Ryan Rua and Trever Adams each hit their first home run of the season and each bomb occurred with one man on base. That’s eight runs on four total pitches if you’re counting at home. The ‘Riders went 4-8 with runners in scoring position and only stranded two.

April 11, 2014: Frisco (2) @ NW Arkansas (1)

Game two of the series turned out to be a pitchers duel and was a polar-opposite outing from the previous evening at Arvest Ballpark. Nick Martinez pitched five strong innings by only giving up one run on five hits and the ‘Riders could only give him one run of support. In the top of the ninth with Adams on third, Jake Skole hit a sacrifice fly to score what would be the game-winning run. This was a gritty road win to make it two straight.

April 12, 2014: Frisco (15) @ NW Arkansas (2)

The RoughRiders used the long ball once again to stun the Naturals. Rougned Odor hit two home runs in the game (one was a two-run shot), Jake Smolinski hit a solo homer in the eighth and Brown hit a two-run dinger in the ninth. The club tallied 35 total bases on 17 hits and went 8-15 with runners in scoring position.

April 14, 2014: Frisco (5) @ Arkansas (4)

Following the sweep of the Naturals, the club focused its attention on the Arkansas Travelers. The two teams were scheduled to open the series on Sunday afternoon but rain forced a double-header with two seven-inning contests on Monday. The scoring began quickly in game one as both teams scored one run in the first. Harrison made his second rehab start of the spring and pitched 3 1/3 innings allowing two earned runs on six hits. The game was tied in the sixth when a pair of singles and a walk loaded the bags. Smolinski and Robinson drew back-to-back walks to score Patrick Cantwell and Luis Sardinas, and the RoughRiders held on for the 5-4 win after the Travs scored one run in the bottom of the sixth.

April 14, 2014: Frisco (2) @ Arkansas (1)

This was game two of the double-header and featured Jerad Eickhoff opposing Mark Sappington. Arkansas drew first blood in the first on an Alex Yarbrough sacrifice fly scoring Kyle Hudson. The ‘Riders weren’t shaken and answered quickly by loading the bases for Tomas Telis in the second. Telis hit a two RBI line drive double and Frisco pulled ahead. Those would be the only runs of the game and the win was Frisco’s third one-run game of the winning streak.

April 15, 2014: Frisco (3) @ Arkansas (0)

The RoughRiders were looking to finish the road trip on a high note and they did just that. Brown hit a two-run homer in the first, Sardinas singled in the second to score Adams, and the ‘Riders cruised to a 3-0 shutout. Luke Jackson pitched six innings of three-hit baseball and struck out eight, which sent the club back to Frisco with the winning streak at seven.

April 17, 2014: Corpus Christi (2) @ Frisco (3)

Frisco welcomed the Corpus Christi Hooks to town for the first of a four-game set and did so in exciting fashion. It was a 2-2 game in the ninth when Adams got things started with a lead off single to right. Rua was hit by a pitch and Telis bunted the runners over to set the situation for Skole. The ‘Rider hero answered the bell again and sent a pitch right back up the middle. In doing so Skole sent everyone home with a walk-off win to keep the streak alive and open the home stand with an exclamation point.

April 18, 2014: Corpus Christi (3) @ Frisco (4)

Game two of the series didn’t see much action until Corpus’ big sixth inning. Joe Sclafani led off the action with a triple to deep center and scored on Andrew Aplin’s line-drive single to right. Aplin later scored on Preston Tucker’s fly ball to right field. The Hooks extended the lead to 3-0 on Nolan Fontana’s sacrifice bunt scoring Tucker. Frisco quickly answered on a lead off homer hit by Robinson to make it 3-1 and a two-run Skole homer to tie it at three. Cantwell scored the go-ahead run on a fielding error by first baseman M.P. Cokinos and that proved to be enough for the RoughRiders as they tied the club-record win streak at nine games.

April 19, 2014: Corpus Christi (0) @ Frisco (6)

We’ve arrived at game ten of the record. Ranger All-Star hurler Matt Harrison took the mound for Frisco in what was his final tune up start before being recalled to join Texas. He did it in style. Harrison tossed eight shutout innings and gave up five hits while striking out five. He seemed to set the tone for the rest of the game as Frisco scored four runs for him in the first inning. The ‘Riders tacked on two more in the fifth on a Robinson two-run homer to right field.

Frisco would lose to Corpus 7-5 in the fourth and final game of the series, which ended the club-record ten game winning streak. It was quite the ride for your ‘Riders and they did it with power, stellar pitching and tight defense; and they had fun while they were at it.

Writing to you from the corner of Hicks & Diamond Drive,

Cameron Varnau