Lewis leads charge as Travelers rally to win

Top Mariners prospect smacks homer, crosses plate with final run

Kyle Lewis had just one stolen base this season prior to Game 1 of the Texas League semifinals. (Bentley Reynolds/Arkansas Travelers)

By Andrew Battifarano / MiLB.com | September 6, 2018 12:17 AM

Kyle Lewis made a statement with his bat Wednesday, but what he got done on the bases proved to be even more important.

The top Mariners prospect collected two hits -- including a homer -- and two RBIs while stealing a base and scoring the winning run in the ninth inning on Joseph Odom's single as Double-A Arkansas walked off with a 5-4 win over Tulsa in the opener of the best-of-5 Texas League semifinals at Dickey-Stephens Park.

Video: Lewis belts two-run dinger for Arkansas

"It's a blast man, it's always fun," Lewis said. "I just try to treat it like it's normal. They had a guy on the mound [No. 14 Dodgers prospect Tony Gonsolin] that was pretty tough, a starter that was pretty tough. I was just trying to battle. The whole team was just battling our way through the game. They brought in the closer [Layne Somsen] and we were able to get some hits. It was just a great game on both sides." 

Gameday box score

After batting .260 with five homers in 49 California League games this season, Lewis made the jump to the Texas League and amassed a .220/.309/.371 slash line with four dingers and 20 RBIs in 37 contests. 

The 2016 first-round pick was just 0-for-2 against Gonsolin coming into the day, but his first hit against the right-hander proved key. In the fourth, Lewis worked a 2-2 count before sending the fifth pitch over the right-field wall for an opposite-field two-run homer, putting the Travelers up 3-1.

"I was just trying to get a fastball that I could get the barrel to," Lewis said. "They had been working me down and away, and I got one that I was able to get the barrel to. I was just really trying to be in compete mode. Down with two strikes, I wasn't really trying to zone anything up or look anywhere."

Complete postseason coverage »

Arkansas was down a run heading into the ninth when Joey Curletta ripped a leadoff single into left off Somsen. With one down, MLB.com's No. 80 prospect cracked a single to center to put runners on the corners.

Yonathan Mendoza fanned for the second out, but Lewis swiped second to keep the Travelers out of a potential forceout and set himself up as the potential winning run. Then Odom tucked a single down the third-base line to plate both runners and send off a celebration between first and second base. 

Video: Odom's walk-off knock for Arkansas

"[Somsen] was just trying to bear down on the hitter, so once [Mendoza] got to two strikes, I thought he might go breaking ball that I could get a good jump on," Lewis said. "I just took off with the idea that maybe, if he puts it in play, we stay out of the double play, and if he strikes out, at least we set ourselves up for the walk-off."

Wyatt Mills (1-0) earned the win out of the bullpen, allowing one hit and striking out two in a scoreless ninth for the Travelers.

MiLB include

Second-ranked Dodgers prospect Keibert Ruiz finished 3-for-4 with a homer, three RBIs and a run scored for the Drillers. Baseball's No. 37 overall prospect hit .268/.328/.401 with 12 long balls in 101 games in his first tour of the circuit. Gonsolin allowed three runs on four hits with seven strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings. 

The two teams are scheduled to play Game 2 in Arkansas on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Ben Holmes is slated to pitch for Tulsa against No. 27 Mariners prospect Anthony Misiewicz

In other Texas League playoff action: 

Hooks 7, Missions 0

Ryan Hartman (1-0) kept San Antonio off the board for 7 2/3 innings, allowing just three hits while fanning seven to lead Corpus Christi to victory. Astros No. 19 prospect Brandon Bielak gave up just one hit over the final 1 1/3 innings to preserve the shutout. Josh Rojas backed the pitching with two doubles, three RBIs and a run scored and 21st-ranked Abraham Toro-Hernandez collected two base knocks. Gameday box score

Andrew Battifarano is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter, @AndrewAtBatt. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

View More