The opener Thursday was a pleasing occasion all around, as Rowdy the Roadrunner pummeled former mascot Cody the Coyote in the bottom of the first inning, signifying the transition from old to old/new. Then, 2,187 mostly late-arriving fans settled in to see the Runners rally from a 4-0 deficit against Laredo, winning 10-6 thanks to a 4-run sixth and some solid relief pitching.
Lefty Pedro Flores, an All-Star with the original Roadrunners, started and lasted into the fifth, falling behind 4-0. But the Runners chipped away with patience at the plate against former Runner and Coyote hurler Ryan Harris, who began the night for the Broncos.
Edinburg knocked Harris out of the box in the sixth when they parlayed a walk, two hits batsmen and a couple of singles into a 7-5 lead.
Having gained the lead, the Runners ran into trouble when Austin Bridges, who has relieved Flores and retired Laredo in the sixth, left with runners at second and third with no outs. In came veteran righty Bryan Heaston, who got an infield pop and two strikeouts to get out of the jam.
“That may have been the turning point of the game,” said manager Vince Moore. “Heaston really did the job in a tough spot. We were also patient at the plate, which allowed is to come back after we got behind.”
In all, Edinburg batters coaxed 10 free passes and won the game despite getting outhit. Outfielder Amado German collected two hits as did former University of Texas-Pan American star Osiel Flores, a McAllen High grad who went all the way behind the plate Thursday. Flores and outfielder Nick Aranda scored twice apiece for the squad.
New acquisition Vincent Blue drove in three runs hitting in the second spot, while second baseman Andre Hereaud had three RBI and a number of fine plays in the field. The latter’s two-run single in the sixth gave the Runners the lead at 6-5.
The only downer of the night came when fan favorite Eric Gonzalez, who had doubled in a run with a shot off the wall in the fourth, was hit by a pitch in the back of the head and had to leave the game. He is day-to-day after suffering a possible minor concussion.
NOTES: The series continues tonight at 7 p.m. with Eric Montoya on the mound for the Runners, with former UTPA righty Tim Haines set to throw Saturday night and lefty Miguel Martinez finishing up the stand Sunday at 6 p.m.
After that, the team heads out on the road for two weeks of ULB games, returning home June 28 to start a homestand against San Angelo.