Five-Run Third, Bullpen Help 'Hounds to 6-5 Win
In most circles, the phrase "a bunch of bull" is not a good thing. Amend one word to read "a bunch of bullpen" and, at least for the RockHounds, the phrase is a thing of beauty.
A five-run inning and back-to-back doubles from Tyler Marincov and Viosergy Rosa provided the offense and the relief tandem of Ben Bracewell and Carlos Navas were brilliant as the RockHounds earned a critical 6-5 victory over the first place San Antonio Missions on Thursday night at Nelson Wolff Stadium.
Within the framework of the first half pennant race, the win keeps the 'Hounds in contention, giving the club a chance for a split of the critical four-game series in San Antonio. A split would keep the 'Hounds within two games of the Missions with 10 games to play.
San Antonio built a 4-0 lead, scoring twice in the first and twice more in the second against RockHounds starter Brett Graves . The 'Hounds, facing San Diego Padres' left-hander Christian Friedrich (on a Major League rehab assignment), broke out with a five-run third inning. A one-out walk to Jordan Tarsovich was followed by five consecutive hits. Kenny Wilson singled and Yairo Munoz ripped an RBI double to left-center, putting the 'Hounds on the board. Jermaine Curtis, Marincov and Rosa followed with RBI singles to tie the game and Beau Taylor 's sacrifice fly against reliever T.J. Weir capped the five-run inning,
From that point on, only two runs were scored, each on back-to-back doubles. Ty France and Alberth Martinez tied the game with consecutive two-baggers in the third and Marincov and Rosa went back-to-back in the fifth for what turned out to be the game-winner.
Both bullpens were outstanding. Weir and Jerry Keel (who would have started had Friedrich not been on the rehab assignment) combined to go 6.2 innings, allowing one run on two hits, walking three and striking out seven. After the back-to-back doubles, Keel allowed just two base runners (both on walks to Tarsovich) the rest of the way.
Bracewell relieved Graves with one on and no outs in the fifth and showed the form that made him such a key member of the 2016 Texas League championship club. Over four innings, he allowed no runs on two hits on a walk and one hit batsman, while striking out four.
Navas, who suffered a blown save in his previous opportunity at Northwest Arkansas on May 26 faced and retired the Missions' 3, 4 and 5 hitters, getting Jose Rondon on a pop foul to third, Franmil Reyes swinging and France to pop out to shortstop. Entering the ninth inning on Thursday, Rondon, Reyes and France were hitting a combined .397 in the season series with the RockHounds.
The RockHounds (30-29) remain tied with the Corpus Christi Hooks who defeated Frisco, 11-6 in Corpus Christi, with both clubs moving to within three games of San Antonio in the Texas League South.
There are 11 games remaining in the first half pennant race.
Friday's game is the last meeting of the first half between the RockHounds and Missions. The 'Hounds and Frisco meet six times (four at Security Bank Ballpark and two at Frisco) and the 'Hounds host Corpus Christi in a four-game series from June 14-17.
The only bad news of the night came with Brett Vertigan (0-for-4, two strikeouts) seeing his 22-game on-base streak come to an end.
Viosergy Rosa went 2-for-4 and recorded two RBI for the second straight night. His two-RBI night pushed him into a three-way for the league lead with 43 RBI, joining 'Hounds teammate Tyler Marincov and Tulsa's Edwin Rios.
The RockHounds and Missions conclude their series Friday evening at 7:05 (radio broadcast at 7:00).
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Texas League Stories from June 9, 2017
- Midland Holds on Late to Earn Split - San Antonio Missions
- Drillers Fall 5-3 to Split Series against Travelers - Tulsa Drillers
- Five-Run Third, Bullpen Help 'Hounds to 6-5 Win - Midland RockHounds
- Davis Powers Hooks in Slugfest - Corpus Christi Hooks
- Big Inning plus 16 Ks = Travs Win - Arkansas Travelers
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