Hanser Alberto is on a roll.
The Round Rock infielder finished the first game back from the All-Star break with three hits, four RBIs and two runs scored as the Express downed the Oklahoma City Dodgers 8-4 in the first of a four-game series.
“It feels great,” Alberto said. “All the hard work that I’m putting in is paying off now. That’s good, but more importantly, we’re getting the win. We’re playing good and hopefully, we can continue that.”
Alberto hit his fourth home run of the year on Thursday. He finished last week’s series at Oklahoma City with an even .500 batting average including two doubles, a triple, two home runs and 11 RBIs over the five-game series.
Willie Calhoun, And Ibanez and Juan Centeno all had two hits and drove in a run for the Express, who won their second game in a row.
Tyler Wagner (1-3, 4.72 ERA) picked up his first Triple-A win of the season in his ninth start, allowing four runs on seven hit with a season-best six strikeouts.
The Express closed out the first half of the season last Sunday, pounding the Dodgers 18-8 to move into a tie for second place in the American Southern Division.
Outfielder Scott Heineman and closer R.J. Alvarez represented Round Rock at the Triple-A All-Star game Wednesday in Columbus. Heineman finished 1-for-1 with a single and set an All-Star game record with four stolen bases while Alvarez pitched one inning with one strikeout in a 12-7 win for the PCL.
“We’ve got a lot of different guys and we were working on the chemistry,” Alberto said. “Now we’ve been together for two months and now we know each other. It’s a lot of different players, but we’re getting together and seeing a lot of good at-bats and getting the job done.”
Oklahoma City centerfielder Alex Verdugo took Wagner deep with a two-run home run in the first inning.
Round Rock had four straight hits in the third innings, including RBI singles from Drew Robinson, Ibanez and Calhoun to take a 3-2 lead. Alberto hit a moonshot to left field in the next inning to extend the Express lead to 6-2.
“I’ve been sitting on the breaking ball since before the All-Star game,” Alberto said. “They’ve been (throwing) a lot of breaking balls. So I waited for it and got a good swing. It’s been pretty good lately.”
Jake Peter brought the Dodgers within two runs with another two-run shot in the fifth inning.
Centeno drove in a run with a double to left field and Alberto stretched a line-drive single into a double in the ninth inning.
The Express and Dodgers continue their series Friday at 7:05 p.m. and wrap things up Saturday and Sunday at 6:05 p.m. Round Rock then hits the road for eight games in eight days before returning to Dell Diamond on July 24 against the Tacoma Rainiers.
“We’re going to continue to play hard and play the right way and hopefully we can get the win,” Alberto said. “We’re pretty good right now with momentum and we’re going to continue to do a good job.”