The difference was day and night.
With the sun shining Saturday afternoon, the Salt Lake Bees celebrated a walk-off triple to beat the Round Rock Express. But early pitching struggles and difficulties getting base runners back to home plate left the Bees to walk off losers in the second game of a weekend doubleheader at Smith’s Ballpark.
With the split, Salt Lake moved to 57-78 on the season.
Shortstop Shawn O’Malley was one of the brightest spots in the Bees’ lineup Saturday. The infielder went 4-for-5 and provided the winning hit in the first game of the day.
"I tried to slow everything down. I started rushing myself at the plate [in previous games]," O’Malley said. "So I made a little adjustment. Just be easier with my hands and just throw my hands around. Just a little adjustment like that can be the difference."
Salt Lake opened the doubleheader with hot bats, and when Taylorsville native John Buck blasted a home run in the bottom of the first inning, Salt Lake led 5-1.
But Round Rock rallied, driving in two runs in the second and assembling a three-run fifth inning to knot the game at 6 runs apiece.
O’Malley, however, would play hero. With center fielder J.B. Shuck standing on first base and O’Malley coming to the plate to pinch hit, the shortstop ripped a shot off the wall in right-center field.
O’Malley continued to give Round Rock pitchers trouble in Game 2.
But the Express Express opened the second game with a pair of first-inning runs. Then back-to-back doubles in the fourth inning gave the Express a 4-1 edge.
The Bees’ bullpen would settle things down after a shaky start. Relievers David Carpenter and Yoslan Herrera combined to strike out seven batters in 32⁄3 scoreless innings.
But the Bees’ bats couldn’t find hits at key times and Salt Lake stranded a total of 10 runners in the nightcap.
Salt Lake’s lone run of the game came when former Ute slugger C.J. Cron smashed an RBI single to drive in O’Malley in the bottom of the first.
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