HARLINGEN — Reliever Bryan Heaston summed up the Edinburg Roadrunner attitude best after the team’s 12-game winning streak came to an end Saturday night.
“Well, that’s that…we’ll just have to start another one,” said Heaston after the 6-2 road loss to the RGV WhiteWings, the first defeat since Aug. 2 for the ULB’s hottest outfit.
In the franchise’s best streak since a 17-0 start in 2006 as the Coyotes, Edinburg has gotten awesome starting pitching and increased power output, headlined by a five-homer explosion against the Wings Friday.
“We have been putting it all together,” said pitching coach Lupe Salinas, whose staff allowed just 2.9 runs per game during the stretch that saw the team climb into second place. “The pitchers are throwing strikes and we finally have the hitting in sync with the pitching.”
Salinas was in the middle of a brawl last week over in Harlingen, as infielder Wilmer Pino was pummeled by controversial catcher Sendy Vazquez and Salinas, along with Eric Gonzalez and a host of other Runners, intervened in the melee. Salinas said he was trapped in the fray.
“I went out there to try and stop things when Pino got hit,” Salinas recalled. “And the next thing I knew, my arm was bent back and there were a bunch of guys piling on top of me.”
Despite the fisticuffs, the Runners (36-28) were able to win the first two games of the series to make it 12 in a row, as Cameron McGuire hit his sixth and seven home runs and three other teammates also connected Friday, the team’s best power performance of the year by far. Former UTPA star Kelly Casares saved five games during the skein, and has 11 for the year.
But Saturday it all came to an end as Edinburg managed just five hits and Danny Rondon, one of the leaders of the recent surge, gave up 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings. With a road trip to Coastal Bend Sunday through Wednesday, the Runners entered the home stretch of the year, seeking to hang on to second, with home-field advantage for the first round of the playoffs on the line.
They close the season with 12 games at home, where they’ve gone 24-9 (73 percent); San Angelo and Amarillo come calling for eight crucial contests Aug. 24-31 to end the slate.
Outfielder Nick Aranda says the team has a lot of confidence right now.
“And it’s not like we really care about the streak,” he commented. “We just came out trying to play well every day, and we’re loose, not uptight about it all.”
NOTES: The Runners added a pair of ex Valley stars to the roster for the stretch run, P-SJ-A pitcher Adrian Garza, and McAllen High legend “Keko” Guerrero. Both have been playing in the Mexican League for the Tecolotes of Nuevo Laredo. The infielder Guerrero went 3 for 5 in his first game for the club last week, after hitting .336 in Mexico this year.