LITTLE ROCK - After seeing the Travs fail to capitalize on two chances at a win, Drew Heid raced around the bases himself to secure a 3-2 victory for the Arkansas Travelers against San Antonio on Tuesday night. Heid hit the second pitch of the 12th inning over the head of Hunter Renfroe in center field for a triple and scored on Brian Bixler's wild cutoff throw.
After their fifth straight victory improved their second-half record to 26-18, the Travs now lead the North Division by five games due to a loss by the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. With wins in 18 of the last 23 games the Travs hold an overall mark of 60-54.
Kramer Sneed and three relievers combined to hold the Missions to six hits in 12 innings. Sneed finished seven innings with two runs allowed on a home run by Adam Buschini. The left hander struck out seven and walked four with five hits allowed.
Trevor Gott and Danny Reynolds each threw two scoreless innings. Jairo Diaz (2-0) earned the win by pitching around a two-out single in the 12th.
The wild victory came two innings after the Travs were millimeters away from scoring the winning run on a near bases-loaded wild pitch. Missions catcher Austin Hedges blocked a pitch from John Hussey and dove to the plate just as Jett Bandy lunged to attempt to score the winning run. After being called out Bandy was ejected from the game as was manager Phillip Wellman by umpire Ramon Hernandez.
The Travs jumped out to an early lead against James Needy, who threw the first seven innings in San Antonio's no-hitter over Corpus Christi on July 30. Maikol Gonzalez led off the first inning with a single and stole second base. Alex Yarbrough walked and slid hard into second base on a fielder's choice by Brian Hernandez to make Bixler double clutch a relay throw allowing Gonzalez to reach third with one out. Mike Bianucci singled through the right side to drive in the game's first run.
Sneed issued a two-out walk to Cody Overbeck in the second inning before Buschini hit a line drive over the left field fence for a two-run homer (8) giving the Missions a 2-1 lead.
Bandy led off the Travs' second inning with a single, then with one out Heid and Eric Stamets hit consecutive singles to bring Gonzalez up with bases loaded. Bandy scored on a high chopper hit by Gonzalez to shortstop. Needy turned dominant immediately and retired 14 Travs in a row before hitting Bandy with a pitch in the seventh inning.
Sneed got help from Heid to get out of the seventh inning with a 2-2 score. Diego Goris hit a two-out single to left field and advanced to second when Gonzalez misplayed the hit. Heid ran down a drive by Yeison Asencio to the right-field gap and made a lunging catch on the warning track for the third out.
Former Trav R.J. Alvarez appeared for the Missions in the eighth inning and retired the side in order.
In the Travs' ninth inning Hussey got two quick outs before he walked Bandy. Kaleb Cowart lined a base hit to right field for a double that sent Bandy to third base. After Heid walked, Bandy tried to score on the 1-2 pitch to Eric Stamets which resulted in the third out of the inning.
Josh Geer allowed Heid's hit and the resulting unearned run to suffer his league-leading 11th loss.
Time of game was 3:17 and the paid attendance was 3,187.
On Wednesday night the Travs have Orangel Arenas (5-7, 3.77) on the mound against San Diego lefty Robbie Erlin, who makes a rehab start for the Missions. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. and the gates open at 6:10 p.m.