The last trip home was a good one or the Invaders as they left town with a 6-1 record, wrapping up with four straight victories over rival Alpine. Unfortunately, that string ended Monday in Alamogordo, in a 7-6 10-inning loss.
Roswell 7, Alpine 5
The Pecos League southern division rivals squared off Saturday in the second of three very tight games.
After a lightning delay of 30 minutes, play got underway with Alpine taking the early lead.
The Cowboys teed off on starter TJ Pruneda for three runs in the first — off a single, triple and two-out home run — and two in the fifth on a double, two singles and a sacrifice fly.
Meanwhile, all Roswell could manage through four was a solo run in the third on a double by Rene Moreda and two-out single by Joy Miller.
But after Alpine made it 5-1 in the top of the fifth, the Invaders started battling back.
They made it 5-3 in the bottom of the fifth on a Woodard double; singles by Miller and Cody Coffman; a walk to Jim Smith; and an RBI sac fly by Christian Johnson. Gallego gave up two more in the sixth on a walk to Brett Balkan and homer by Roche Woodard, tying it at 5-5.
Then, with the Roswell bullpen of Kyle Perez, Thomas Huddleston, Ryan Calby and Lance Fairchild shutting the Cowboys down, Alpine reliever David Gates was hurt by an error, hit batter and three straight walks in the eighth that made it 7-5.
“That was intense. It was great,” Kloppe said. “The bullpen did an awesome job. Roche had the [auth] big home run. Every night it’s somewhat new. Everybody’s taking their turn to step up.”
But it wasn’t over yet, as reliever Fairchild came in in the ninth to face the top of the Alpine order, and struck out all three batters to close out the game and leave the fans to pass the hat.
“Lance has electric stuff and it’s got a lot of movement,” Kloppe said. “He just attacks in the zone and it’s hard to hit.”
The Invaders only had eight hits in the game, with Moreda, Miller and Woodard all 2-for-4.
“That was as exciting of a game as you can get,” Kloppe said…
Roswell 3, Alpine 2
…Well, maybe not.
Sunday’s game was even closer, as both starters had awesome games with the pitching allowing only five combined runs and 20 hits in a 3-2 Roswell victory.
The Invaders never trailed, going up 1-0 — their first time leading early in the series — on a Woodard single and Miller double. Roswell added another run in the fourth on a single by pitcher Ethan Rosebeck, no-out fielder’s choice and wild pitch.
Rosebeck kept Alpine scoreless through four, but the Cowboys finally got on the board in the fifth on a one-out triple and single. Roswell made it 3-1 on a Moreda home run in the sixth off starter Pat Lemmo, then Alpine added a final run off Rosebeck in the seventh on a long ball.
But that was it as far as scoring.
Rosebeck allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out six. He threw more than 100 pitches in the game and got a big hit.
“Ethan is a great competitor,” Kloppe said. “He battles every night. It’s exciting every time he comes up to pitch.”
And again, the Invader bullpen did what it’s supposed to do, with Perez, Calby and Huddleston allowing only one hit and two walks between them.
Three Roswell players had a multi-hit night. Miller was 3-for-4; Bishop 2-for-3; and Woodard 2-for-5, and once again, defense played a big part.
“Brett Balkan played great defense as always,” Kloppe said. “Some really big plays.”
The rivalry between the Invaders and Cowboys is one of the most intense in the Pecos League — “It was a big series win,” Kloppe said — and will resume July 21 in Alpine with four final games. But despite the closeness of three of the four wins, Kloppe said he doesn’t get worried.
“I have a lot of confidence in our guys and they make it easy for me. It’s a fun group to manage,” he said.
And he was pleased with the sweep of the Cowboys.
“It was a great series,” he said. “Those last three games were close-fought all the way to the end.”
White Sands 7, Roswell 6
ALAMOGORDO — The Invaders had to play comeback in another close game Monday — the fourth in a row — but vs. the Pupfish, Roswell couldn’t get the big hit they needed, tying the game twice but eventually falling 7-6.
The visitors jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-out single by Bishop, error, and RBI single by Miller.
But White Sands tied it in the bottom of the stanza on two singles and a double, then added one run in the third on a single and double, and two in the fifth on a walk, single and error.
Those runs came off starter Steven Cazares, but he left with one out and one on in the sixth, and Perez closed out the inning.
The Invaders finally got their bats going in the seventh, scoring two runs off starter Taylor Elman.
Pinch hitter Smith was hit, Balkan doubled and Moreda brought both in with a single. They tied the game at 4-4 in the eighth on a single by Webb, a walk and two errors, but Fairchild, who was so solid against Alpine, let the Pupfish retake the lead.
White Sands mistakes again aided Roswell in the ninth, as they tied it at 6-all on an error, walk and singles by Webb and Kahou Gaspar. Ryan Calby then set the home team down 1-2-3 in the ninth. But ‘Fish reliever and winner Tyler Stirewalt did the same to the Invaders in the top of the 10th, and two Roswell errors brought a Pupfish runner home to end the game.
Elman, who got the no decision, held the Invaders to 10 hits with Cazares 2-for-2, Webb 2-for-4 and Moreda 2-for-6. Cazares allowed four runs, three earned, on nine hit in getting a no decision.
The teams will meet again tonight at 7 p.m., this time in Roswell, and the home game will be the last for eight days for the Invaders, who then head back to Alamogordo and Tucson, then get two welcome days off.