Manzueta Sharp as Railroaders Hang on to Down Apollos
CLEBURNE, Texas (Sep. 1, 2021) – Behind five shutout innings from Jheyson Manzueta and five consecutive one-run innings, the Cleburne Railroaders fought off the Houston Apollos 5-2 on Wednesday night at The Depot at Cleburne Station.
Cleburne (53-42) tacked on single runs in each of the first five innings to establish a 5-0 lead. In the first, Ramon Hernandez drove in Alay Lago with a fielder’s choice groundout, his 99th RBI of the season.
In the second, Colton Pogue worked a one-out walk, moved to second on a wild pitch, and came in to score on a two-out RBI single from Osvaldo Martinez for a 2-0 lead.
Hunter Clanin made it 3-0 in the third, driving in Zach Nehrir on a fielder’s choice ground ball. Nehrir scored from third just ahead of the throw from Houston third baseman Ian Yetsko on a close play at the plate.
It was Tyler Ryan’s turn to deliver a two-out RBI single in the fourth, drive home Lago to extend the advantage to 4-0. Another two-out RBI knock from Pogue in the fifth made it 5-0 Cleburne.
Manzueta (7-4) grinded through five strong innings, allowing just four hits with no walks. He struck out just two, but did not allow a Houston runner to reach third base.
Emerson Martinez tossed two excellent innings in relief, but Houston (17-80) scratched across a pair of runs in the eighth against Michael Krauza. Blake Berry’s RBI groundout got the Apollos on the board, and a wild pitch later in the inning scored Hudson Bilodeau to slice the margin to 5-2.
Closer Nick Gardewine fired a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to secure his fourth save, striking out two.
Starter Matt Cronin (3-11) took the loss for Houston, allowing four runs in four innings on eight hits. His 11 losses are the most in the American Association.
The win, combined with a Sioux City loss, extends the Cleburne lead in the South Division standings to three-and-a-half games over the fourth place Explorers. Lincoln’s win over Milwaukee keeps the Saltdogs two games back of the Railroaders in third place.
The Railroaders and Apollos conclude the series on Thursday night at 7:06 PM. Cleburne is expected to start right-hander Jesus Sanchez (2-0, 4.98), while Houston counters with fellow righty Tucker Smith (2-8, 8.57).
For information on partnerships, season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Railroaders main office at (817) 945-8705, or visit the Railroaders official website at www.railroaderbaseball.com.