Springfield, MO - 3B Ruben Gotay hit two home runs, one in the bottom of the ninth, but the San Antonio Missions hung on for the 9-7 win against the Springfield Cardinals before 3,276 fans at Hammons Field on Sunday evening. CF James Ramsey also hit a home run and a triple, scoring four runs.
The Cardinals (8-9, 41-44) jumped in front in the bottom of the first inning against RHP Josh Geer (W, 5-3) and the Missions (10-7, 48-38). With one away, CF James Ramsey worked a walk to get the Cards their first base runner. One out later, 1B Xavier Scruggs also drew a free pass, advancing Ramsey to second base. RF Stephen Piscotty chopped a grounder to short for an infield single, which was compounded by an errant throw from SS Jeudy Valdez that enabled Ramsey to race home for the 1-0 lead.
Springfield struck again in the bottom of the second inning. Three straight singles by SS Luis Mateo, 2B Vance Albitz and C Audry Perez loaded the bases to start the stanza. Mateo then darted home on a double play ball hit by RHP Richard Castillo, doubling the early advantage to 2-0.
However, San Antonio raced in front with four runs in the top of the third against Castillo (L, 5-5). With the bases full of Missions and only one away, RF Yeison Asencio drove a three-run double to left-center, swinging San Antonio in front, 3-2. Asencio then came in from second on an RBI base hit by 3B Jake Blackwood, stretching the Missions lead to 4-2.
The Cardinals battled back right away in the bottom of the third. Ramsey started the inning with a walk, before 3B Ruben Gotay sent a towering two-run homer over the right-center field wall, evening the score. The very next batter, Scruggs, belted a fly ball back to the wall in center field that was initially ruled a home run, but overturned and changed to a ground-rule double. The Missions then worked out of the inning, stranding Scruggs and keeping the new 4-4 tie intact.
San Antonio swung back in front with three runs in the top of the fifth. A base hit by CF Reymond Fuentes started the inning with a single and he quickly took second on a balk called against Castillo. Three RBI singles from LF Johan Limonta, Blackwood and C Rocky Gale fueled the rally and lifted the Missions back into the lead, 7-4.
San Antonio then struck for an eighth run in the top of the sixth against RHP Jose Almarante. With two down and the bases empty, 1B Tommy Medica hit a solo shot to left-center, making it 8-4.
Ramsey brought the Cardinals within three runs with a solo blast in the seventh, but San Antonio stretched it back out with a run in the top of the ninth. Consecutive doubles by CF Reymond Fuentes and Medica started the frame and increased the Missions lead to 9-5.
Springfield refused to go down without a fight, starting off the bottom of the ninth with a Ramsey triple. Gotay then hammered his second home run of the game over the left field fence, bringing the Cardinals within just two runs of tying it. After a strikeout, Piscotty and 2B Vance Albitz both singled, getting the two potential tying runs to first and second. However, a fielder's choice and a strikeout dealt by RHP Jeremy McBryde closed the contest and San Antonio escaped with the 9-7 win.
Click here for the complete box score from Sunday's game.
The Cardinals and Missions wrap up the three-game series with the rubber match on Monday at 7:09pm. Gates open at 6:09pm.
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