April 21, 2017 - Texas League (TL) - Midland RockHounds
Before coming to West Texas, the San Antonio Missions hit .181 and scored a total of seven runs, in the last five games of their homestand. Suffice to say, they were struggling at the plate. Not any more.
The Missions put nine runs and 17 hits on the board Thursday night at Security Bank Ballpark, winning the opener of a four-game series, 9-5.
The clubs combined for five runs in the first inning, with the Missions loading the bases with no outs against starter Brandon Mann . An RBI single from Franmil Reyes and a two-run single from Fernando Perez made the score 3-0. The RockHounds answered with Brett Vertigan drawing a leadoff walk and J.P. Sportman following with a double. Both base runners scored on B.J. Boyd's single to right, but the rally ended when Jordan Tarsovich grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Auston Bousfield's leadoff double in the second and Alberth Martinez's one-out triple in the third helped push San Antonio's lead to 5-2 and chased Mann after 2.2 innings.
The game then pivoted on a "stop and a jack" from the Missions. With two on and one out in the home half of the third, Tarsovich ripped an RBI single to center field and advanced to second on the throw, putting the tying runs in scoring position with one out. Missions starter Enyel De Los Santos then got Andy Paz to pop out and Richie Martin to fly out, ending the threat. Three pitches into the top of the fourth, Nick Schulz belted a solo home run two the batter's eye in center field, turning what might have been a 5-5 tie into a 6-3 San Antonio advantage.
In addition to the 17-hit attack, the Missions bullpen was brilliant in the middle innings. Rafael De Paula, Adam Cimber and Brad Wieck combined to pitch five scoreless innings and the offense built the lead to 8-3.
The RockHounds continue their short, four-game homestand, hosting the Missions on Friday and Saturday at 7:00 p.m. and on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. The club then opens an eight-game road trip to Corpus Christi and San Antonio.
With the victory, the Missions snapped a four-game losing streak and handed the RockHounds their third consecutive loss.
J.P. Sportman (1-for-5, double, run) extended his hit streak to a Texas League season-high 12 games (17-for-51, .333).
Since going 0-for-4 on opening night, B.J. Boyd (1-for-4, two RBI) has now hit in eight straight games (14-for-33, .424).
Brett Vertigan (2-for-4, double, two runs) is 9-for-25 (.360) in his last seven games.
Nick Schulz went 4-for-6 with two runs, two RBI (including his solo home run) and is now hitting .348 for the season.
Both starting pitchers had rough nights. Brandon Mann, who allowed no runs on two hits with two walks and six strikeouts over seven innings in his first two outings, gave up five runs on seven hits in 2.2 innings on Thursday night. The lefty has now allowed 11 runs in 3.1 innings in his last two appearances. Enyel De Los Santos, whose two brilliant starts against Northwest Arkansas had earned him Texas League Pitcher of the Week honors, entered the game having allowed no runs on two hits with two walks and 13 strikeouts in 12 innings. He gave up three runs on five hits over three innings in Thursday's start.
Several hitters on both clubs busted out of slumps Thursday night. San Antonio's A.J. Kennedy had started the season 0-for-21 before a third-inning single ... Missions center fielder Auston Bousfield entered the game 4-for-26 (.154) but went 3-for-5 with a double, two runs and an RBI ... the RockHounds' Jordan Tarsovich broke an 0-for-22 stretch with his third-inning RBI single ... and shortstop Richie Martin was 2-for-24 before his infield single in the ninth.