Christian Lopes’ fireworks finished the job Ryan Rua started.
The infielder hit a three-run home run capped a seven-run eighth inning and the Express beat the Colorado Springs Sky Sox 11-4 on Monday night to take their second of three games and win their first series of the season.
“I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit like most hitters will tell you,” Lopes said. “I wanted to make sure I was still hunting the pitch I wanted to hit. They threw it in there and I reacted went long.”
Ryan Rua almost matched Lopes earlier in the inning when his RBI double bounced off the outfield wall, Destin Hood drew a walk with the bases loaded and Cameron Rupp doubled before Lopes went yard for the second time this season.
“I think you’re starting to see guys swing the bat even if it’s coming from the end of games,” Lopes said. “We’re starting to figure out who we are as a ball club. Hopefully we keep it going and we get on a good streak here.”
Starter Adrian Sampson (0-2, 8.05 ERA) allowed two runs on eight hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. Connor Sadzeck (1-0, 1.35 ERA) struck out the only batter he faced to earn his first Triple-A win.
Round Rock pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts in the game.
Round Rock and Colorado Springs split the first two games in the series. The Express won the opener 6-1 on Saturday thanks to a five-run seventh inning, but dropped the second game 6-5 on Sunday after allowing four run in the 10th inning.
Joseph hit his third home run of the season in the second inning Monday to give Round Rock an early one-run lead. Ryan Rua followed that up with a three-run blast — his first of the year in Triple-A — to extend the lead to 4-0.
Colorado Springs strung together three straight hits in the fourth inning and cut the Round Rock lead in half with a double to deep right field and sharp single up the middle. The Sky Sox tied the game in the seventh when Ji-Man Choi doubled to the corner in left field to drive in a pair of runs.
“You try to win and you play for the guy behind you so to speak, development will happen,” Lopes said. “Texas has done a god job so far and this has been a great organization for me and I’m happy to be.”
The Express are on the road for the next nine games first with a five-game set beginning Wednesday in Memphis and continuing with three more games in New Orleans. They return home on May 4 to face the Iowa Cubs.
“I want to see some wins,” Lopes said. “We’re coming up against a good squad there in Memphis and we’re going to have to get down and dirty.”