With time running out on Double-A Midland, Jorge Mateo keyed a big rally that helped even things up in the best-of-5 Texas League semifinals.
The fourth-ranked A's prospect delivered a bases-clearing double in a five-run eighth inning as the RockHounds pulled out a 6-3 victory over San Antonio on Saturday at Security Bank Ballpark, forcing a decisive fifth game.
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"I was proud of the way our guys dug in when it mattered the most," Midland manager Fran Riordan said. "We had our best at-bats when our season was on the line. It just says a lot about how they handled their business all year."
Down 3-1 in the eighth, Midland began its rally with consecutive walks by A's No. 14 prospect Sheldon Neuse and Tyler Ramirez against left-hander Brad Wieck. No. 11 prospect Sean Murphy laid down a sacrifice bunt on an 0-2 pitch and Wieck loaded the bases by walking Jordan Tarsovich before being pulled for Trey Wingenter.
"We just needed baserunners. If you're going to get to those guys, you need to get on base," Riordan said. "Our guys did a really good job of just seeing some pitches and taking some quality pitches that they made that were just off the plate. Next thing you know, it's a big inning for us."
Video: Mateo delivers bases-clearing double for Midland
Mateo fell into an 0-2 hole against the San Antonio right-hander but caught a slider up in the zone and pulled it into the left field corner to clear the bases.
"He didn't panic in the moment, he didn't try to do too much in the moment and it was just a really, really good swing in a really, really good at-bat," Riordan said. "The energy in our dugout was amped up a little bit and then we just continued to have quality at-bats. Everyone just did a really good job fighting."
A's No. 17 prospect Max Schrock walked and Mateo stole third ahead of Jermaine Curtis' RBI single through the right side. With runners on the corners, Viosergy Rosa capped the five-run rally with an RBI groundout.
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The Missions put together three consecutive hits and a sacrifice fly to open the game against A's No. 19 prospect Heath Fillmyer, putting the RockHounds in an early 2-0 deficit. The 23-year-old right-hander retired the next 10 batters and ended up allowing three runs on nine hits and a walk with five strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings.
"A younger Filmeyer would have let things speed up on him and let things kind of snowball out of control," Riordan said. "He did a great job of staying in the moment and not letting his emotions get the best of him. For him to give that kind of effort after a rocky first inning was huge for our club."
Mateo also singled twice, stole two bases and scored twice. Rosa drove in a pair of runs, giving him a league-leading 11 postseason RBIs.
Padres No. 4 prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. doubled, singled and scored a run for the Missions, while third-ranked prospect Luis Urias contributed an RBI double.
The deciding game in the South Division finals is Sunday in San Antonio.
In other playoff action:
Tulsa 16, Northwest Arkansas 8
Kyle Garlick led the Drillers' 18-hit attack with a homer, double, two singles, two RBIs and four runs scored as Tulsa staved off elimination and evened the North Division series at 2-2. Dodgers No. 30 prospect Matt Beaty also put together a four-hit night, scoring four times, while Blake Gailen contributed three hits, four RBIs and a pair of runs scored. The Naturals knotted the score at 8-8 on No. 14 Royals prospect Ryan O'Hearn's three-run homer in the sixth inning before the Drillers rattled off six runs in the eighth. Box score