ROUND ROCK, Texas – The Memphis Redbirds (65-77) finished the 2016 season on a high note with a 7-6 win over the Round Rock Express (Triple-A Rangers) Monday afternoon to win the season series against the Express for the first time since 2010.
The Redbirds trailed 5-3 in the eighth inning and also came back to tie the game in the second and fifth innings. Breyvic Valera was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a double and three RBI, and he finished the season hitting .341 after making his Triple-A debut June 6. Anthony Garcia and Matt Williams each had three hits, with Garcia knocking two doubles, and Efren Navarro was 2-for-3 with two walks. Valera also swiped two bases in the game.
Jeremy Hefner worked 5.2 innings in a start for the Redbirds, which completed his first full season since 2013 after being sidelined for much of 2014 and all of 2015 due to two arm surgeries. Pedro Echemendia picked up the win, Sam Tuivailala earned a hold and Ryan Sherriff saved the win with a strikeout of slugger Joey Gallo in the bottom of the ninth.
With the win after trailing after seven innings, Memphis went 6-56 this season when trailing after the seventh and is 9-116 under manager Mike Shildt. The Redbirds played 47 one-run games this season, which were their most since 48 in 2008.
Memphis finished the season suiting up 59 different players, which is a franchise record. Of the 59, 25 made their Triple-A debuts, including 13 pitchers and five catchers.
The Redbirds and AutoZone Park host the Gildan Triple-A National Championship Game on Tuesday, Sept. 20. The 2017 season opener is April 6, and the home opener is April 11.