Now this is what the home folks (and manager Steve Maddock) have been expecting to see.

Mired in a faulty start at 5-12, the Roadrunners turned it around with a terrific display of solid baseball Sunday, beating the McAllen Thunder 4-1 and 4-3 to signal that they are serious about getting back into the North American League race.

Closer Julio Castro saved both games, light-hitting infielder Michael Lewis got some big hits, and a pair of new additions paid dividends as Edinburg got a much-needed boost of momentum.

In Game One, UTPA ex Aaron Guerra continued his excellent mound work, pitching six strong innings of the 7-frame opener, allowing just four hits. Lewis, coming in with an anemic .103 average, got a pair of hits, and made an early statement for his team. After being hit by a pitch in the first, he eventually came home to score on an RBI single by Gabe Memmert as the team scored twice right off the bat.

Recently added Jamar Hill later slammed a home run, with Lewis blooping a single for another run, and the 然unners had accomplished a sharp victory.

In the nightcap, Wellington Dotel, acquired from the WhiteWings last week, singled and stole early on, and Hill plated him with a double to tie the game at 1-1 in the first. For a team that has not been hitting much, the early explosions Sunday showed that the bats are starting to heat up.

McAllen would twice come back to tie after Edinburg had taken leads in Game Two, but rather than crater, the 然unners bowed up and got 粗r done. In the third, Lewis again was a spark, singling and stealing, coming home on another Memmert RBI hit, making it 2-2.

Hill soon went deep again, for a 3-2 lead in the fourth and on a 3-for-3 outing, Hill reached on a hit in the sixth, after the Thunder had evened the count in the fifth. This time it was Robert Matlock, working back from an injury, who drove home the go-ahead tally, and just like that, the Roadrunners had taken a pair.

Jorge Quintero, who had struggled in three previous outings, got the win in the nightcap with five innings of work, with Mike Schurz (0.79 ERA so far) and Castro (now with four saves) wrapping it up.


It is no wonder that the team was just 5-12 heading into the doubleheader Sunday, as its aggregate batting mark was .239, second worst among the North American League's 10 teams. Though the 然unners lead the loop in steals, their Punch and Judy lineup has slugged a measly .328 so far, with a paltry on-base average of .321. In 586 at-bats Edinburg had managed just six home runs and yet was first among all clubs in strikeouts.

The bright spots on offense come from outfielder Stantrel Smith (.348, 10 RBI, nine steals) and lefty-swinging first baseman Gabe Memmert (.333). Infielder Brandon Wilkerson (.271) leads the club with 17 RBI, but besides those three, no one is hitting better than .266.

Factor in the distressing number of errors (37) committed in 17 games, and it's clear that the pitching staff has kept the 然unners from last place in the South Division, currently occupied by Yuma. UTPA exes Scott Wingo (0.93 ERA) and Aaron Guerra (1.13, 21 K's in 24 innings before Sunday's win) have carried the load, as the other three starters have started poorly.

The team ERA of 4.35, good for third out of 10 staffs, was serviceable and in order to help the attack at the plate keep pace, manager Steve Maddock had a busy period last week. He brought in outfielders Dotel and Hill to jumpstart things, and as stated, they both came through in the doubleheader.

After wrapping up the series Monday, Edinburg looked toward a road trip to San Angelo starting Wednesday, and will be back at the Stadium Tuesday, June 21 to start a six-game series against McAllen before ending the month with four in Harlingen against the WhiteWings.