San Antonio was sent to the brink of elimination following a 4-1 loss to Arkansas in Game 3 of the Texas League Championship Series Friday night at Dickey-Stephens Park.
The Missions squandered numerous scoring chances in the early innings of Game 3. Arkansas starter Mark Sappington walked three batters in the first and another in the second, but San Antonio failed to score each time. In the top of the third, the Missions threatened again, putting runners on second and third with just one out. However, Sappington escaped trouble once again, inducing Johan Limonta to fly out to left and Jake Blackwood to bounce into an inning-ending ground out to first.
Two innings later, San Antonio went back on the attack. Rico Noel got things going with a one-out, double to left center. After Noel stole third, the rally stalled, as Sappington struck out Cory Spangenberg, before getting Adam Buschini to fly out to left.
Initially, the early struggles by the Missions' offense had no effect on starter Donn Roach (0-1), who allowed just one hit and one walk through his first five innings.
San Antonio finally scratched out the game's first run in the top of the sixth when Jack Blackwood scored from third on a wild pitch by reliever Ryan Chaffee (1-0).
Unfortunately for the Missions, the lead was short-lived. Randal Grichuk led off the bottom of the sixth with a double to left. After Taylor Lindsey moved Grichuk over to third with a sacrifice bunt, Cyle Hankerd tied the game at one with an RBI infield single. Next batter, C.J. Cron put the Travs up 3-1 when he took Roach's 2-0 pitch over the wall in right-center. It was Cron's third homer of the postseason.
Grichuck capped the Arkansas scoring in the bottom of the seventh with a two-out, RBI triple off reliever Tim Sexton.
The bullpen trio of Nick Maronde, David Carpenter and Michael Morin (4th postseason save) kept the Missions hitless over the final three innings.
San Antonio will try to keep their season alive in Game 4 Saturday night. First pitch from Dickey-Stephens Park is scheduled for 7:10 PM. Juan Oramas (0-0, 0.00) will get the ball for the Missions, while the Travelers will counter with Lay Batista (0-0, 1.42).