Railroaders

After the Houston Apollos rallied for a 6-4 win in game 1 Tuesday night, the Cleburne Railroaders finished off their three-game series with their inner-state foes with a pair of walk-off wins Wednesday and Thursday.

For the second straight night, the Railroaders got a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning as Hunter Clanin’s solo shot gave the Railroaders a 6-5 win over the Apollos on Thursday night at The Depot at Cleburne Station.

Clanin’s blast ended a back-and-forth affair that saw the lead change hands five times. Tyler Ryan got the scoring started in the bottom of the third with a towering solo home run that gave the Railroaders (7-8) a 1-0 lead. Houston (2-12) answered with two runs in the fourth on a two-run single from Taylor Zeutenhorst, grabbing a 2-1 edge.

The Railroaders moved back in front in the fourth, with a throwing error and a double steal plating a pair of runs for a 3-2 lead. But a two-run single from Ian Yetsko put the Apollos back in the driver’s seat, leading 4-3. 

In the fifth, Cleburne retook the lead on a long two-run homer from Zach Nehrir that cleared the scoreboard in straightaway left. Nehrir’s second home run of the season gave the Railroaders a 5-4 advantage.

The Apollos evened the score in the top of the sixth when Brian Dansereau doubled with two outs and raced home on an RBI single from Hudson Bilodeau.

The game remained tied at 5-5 thanks to some good work from both bullpens. Bryan Saucedo and Kyle Chavez (2-0) combined for three scoreless innings in relief for Cleburne, while Andrew Click kept the Railroaders off the board until the ninth. Matt Terrones (0-1) retired the first man he faced on a pop out, but then left an 0-1 pitch over the plate to Clanin, who drove it over the left field wall for his fourth home run of the year. 

Garrett Alexander ended up with a no-decision as the Railroaders starter, allowing two runs over four innings. 

In Wednesday's showdown, Ramon Hernandez delivered a walk-off, two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, propelling the Cleburne Railroaders to a 5-3 win over Houston on Wednesday night at The Depot at Cleburne Station.

With the game tied 3-3 in the ninth, Zach Nehrir led off the inning by working a walk against Apollos reliever Ian Codina (0-1). Nehrir then stole second as Hernandez eventually worked the count to 3-1. He turned on the next offering from Codina, pulling it over the left field fence to give Cleburne its first walk-off victory of the 2021 season.

The swing capped off a special evening for Hernandez, who homered twice and drove in all five Cleburne runs. He got the Railroaders on the board with an RBI single in the third, then connected for a two-run home run in the fifth that put Cleburne in front. Hernandez finished the night with 21 RBIs on the season, most in the American Association. 

Houston (2-11) grabbed the first lead of the night in the third inning as Jordan Pontious tripled to start the inning and came around to score on an RBI groundout from Ramon Villa. Hernandez’s swings put Cleburne in front 3-1 heading to the sixth, when Houston scratched across another run on an RBI single from Hudson Bilodeau to pull within 3-2.

The Apollos tied the game in the ninth inning. Blake Berry led off the inning with a double against Mason Melotakis, then came around to score when pinch-hitter Mike Annone singled back up the middle against closer Tyler Wilson (1-0). Wilson kept the game tied by retiring the next two, setting the stage for Hernandez’s heroics in the bottom of the ninth. 

Maverik Buffo ended up with a no-decision, tossing six strong innings with eight strikeouts. The right-hander walked only one and allowed four hits.

The Railroaders and Kansas City Monarchs open a three-game series at 7:06 p.m. Friday in Cleburne. Left-hander Austin Fairchild (0-1, 4.82) gets the start for Cleburne, while the Monarchs will counter with fellow southpaw Eric Stout (1-1, 2.11).

For information on partnerships, season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Railroaders' office at 817-945-8705, or visit the Railroaders' official website at www.railroaderbaseball.com.

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