Jett Bandy has been working on standing a little taller at the plate recently. On Friday night in Arkansas, he stood head and shoulders above the rest -- and picked a nice time to do it.
The 23-year-old catcher drove in four runs with a pair of key doubles as Double-A Arkansas beat Tulsa, 5-2, for its 11th straight win and a ticket to the Texas League Championship Series.
The Travelers swept the best-of-5 semifinal series in three games and will seek their first Texas League title since 2008.
Bandy finished his first season at Double-A with a .241 average and .678 OPS. He sat out the Travelers' first two playoff games and hadn't played since Sept. 2 after hitting .306 over his final 10 regular-season appearances.
"I've been doing my drills and stuff, working on staying a little taller," he said. "Just not trying to do too much: see the ball, hit the ball."
Bandy made his biggest contribution in the second inning, when his bases-loaded double put Arkansas ahead, 3-0. He picked up his fourth RBI with another double in the fourth, scoring Angels No. 5 prospect Randal Grichuk.
The Travelers' path to the Finals was blocked by Rockies No. 3 prospect Eddie Butler, who had a 0.65 ERA in six starts with Tulsa to end his stellar 2013 regular season.
The 22-year-old right-hander wasn't able to replicate that success Friday. Bandy's three-run double in the second got Butler off to a rough start, and Arkansas chased him after 4 2/3 frames. The 2012 first-round pick (46th overall) allowed five runs -- four earned -- on seven hits in his first postseason start.
Angels No. 6 prospect Mark Sappington, who posted a 3.86 ERA in five Double-A starts leading up to the playoffs, got the win by limiting the Drillers to two runs on four hits over five innings.
"He was attacking the zone," Bandy said. "He has a great arm, great stuff. When he falls behind guys, that's when he's in trouble. That's the biggest goal, our game plan, was to attack the zone and let them hit it."
In other action:
San Antonio 7, Corpus Christi 6 (12 innings)
Everett Williams scored the winning run on a throwing error by center fielder Drew Muren as the Missions grabbed a 2-1 lead in the best-of-5 series.
Muren caught a fly ball off the bat of Padres No. 14 prospect Cory Spangenberg and tried to double Rico Noel off first base. But his throw was off-target and rolled into the first-base dugout, allowing Williams to race home from second base.
Jake Blackwood went 2-for-4 with a triple and four RBIs for the Missions, who host Game 4 on Saturday night. Gameday box score»