Cameron Rupp will be sure to let Tommy Joseph know his home run went farther.
The Round Rock teammates — who spent the last two seasons together with the Philadelphia Phillies — both hit homers to help the Express down the Nashville Sounds 8-1 in the first of five-game series Monday night at Dell Diamond.
“I don’t think it happens very often, especially right away, that you get let go by one ball club and picked up by another almost immediately,” Rupp said. “It’s good to have him around. It’s familiar and it’s cool.”
The duo hit a home run in the same game twice last season with the Phillies, first on July 28 in a win against the Atlanta Braves and August 22 in a loss to the Miami Marlins. They also went yard in the same game once in 2016 on June 21 against the Minnesota Twins.
Joseph leads the team with 11 dingers on the year and Rupp is second with eight. This was the first time they’ve hit moonshots in the same game while wearing Round Rock uniforms.
“It makes things easier on each other as far as relationships,” Joseph said. “You’ve got that connection with somebody and he knows what to expect out of me and I know what to expect out of him when maybe other people don’t. "
Round Rock starter Michael Roth went four innings in his first start of the season, giving up one run on six hits with one strike and one walk. Adrian Sampson (3-2, 5.82 ERA) earned the win after pitching two innings of relief.
Roth was acquired from the Cubs organization last week in exchange for cash considerations. He spent most of the 2016 season with the Express, going 11-5 with a 2.97 ERA in 28 appearances.
“He threw strikes and got out of a couple jams with double plays that don’t normally happen that way,” Rupp said. “When luck is on your side, it’s a good thing to have. He stayed away from damage and when you do that, you have success.”
Scott Heineman scored the first run of the game when Tony Sanchez grounded out to second base in the first inning, but Nashville tied things up with a sacrifice fly in the second.
Joseph and Rupp launched home runs one batter apart from each other to give the Express a 5-1 lead in the third inning.
Christian Lopes added to the lead with a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning. Willie Calhoun picked up his 18th RBI of the season when he grounded out to first to score Carlos Tocci and Sanchez drove in his second run of the game to extend the Round Rock lead to 8-1 one inning later.
“I’m swinging the bat well and hitting the ball hard and that’s about all I can control,” Rupp said. “You just have got to keep playing and good things will happen.”
The Express and Sounds face off again Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. at Dell Diamond. The series concludes Sunday at 1:05 p.m. before Round Rock hits the road for a seven-game road trip beginning Tuesday in Salt Lake.
“You go out there and you know offensively that you’ve got to jump on them because both teams are going to grind through the day,” Joseph said. “We’ve been on the other side of travel days that have gotten the best of us and we were fortunate to jump out early. We know that can take the wind out of the sails.”