Missions' Lucchesi dominates in TL semifinals

Padres No. 9 prospect spins seven scoreless frames in Game 3

Joey Lucchesi was 11-7 with a 2.20 ERA in 24 games across two levels during the regular season in 2017. (Dave Michael/MiLB.com)

By Gerard Gilberto / MiLB.com | September 8, 2017 10:28 PM ET

Joey Lucchesi burst onto the scene with Double-A San Antonio in July and posted a 1.21 ERA with 29 strikeouts over 29 2/3 innings in August. The brilliant run by the Padres' No. 9 prospect has followed him into the Texas League semifinals. 

Lucchesi gave up six hits with one walk and five strikeouts over seven innings as the Missions blanked Midland, 9-0, on Friday night at Security Bank Ballpark. San Antonio grabbed a 2-1 lead and can close out the best-of-5 series with a win on Saturday night. 

Video: Missions' Lucchesi notches fifth strikeout

"We're not done. We're going to go about our business [Saturday] the exact same way," Missions manager Phillip Wellman said. "There's not a whole lot I need to say -- I think they understand the ramifications of this -- but we're going to try and keep it as normal as possible and go out and play like we always do."

Lucchesi (1-0) threw 55 of 93 pitches for strikes in his second straight scoreless outing. His brilliant final month of the regular season was capped on Aug. 30 -- also against the RockHounds -- when he yielded two hits with two walks and eight punchouts over six scoreless frames.

Gameday box score

"He throws his stuff across the plate, that's the big thing," Wellman said. "He's got good stuff ... he mixes them up and keeps teams off-balance. He's just got enough funk to his delivery that it's hard to pick it up."

While he kept the opposition off the scoreboard, Lucchesi recorded only two clean innings as nine Midland batters reached base while he was on the bump. The RockHounds' biggest threat came with one out in the fifth when he made a error that loaded the bases. 

"I was a little out of whack with my mechanics and I was rushing," the Southeast Missouri State product said. "I got caught up in the moment, which I usually don't do. But I realized that and took a step back and told myself, 'I got this. I'm freaking out for no reason.'"

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Lucchesi fanned A's No. 4 prospect Jorge Mateo for his final strikeout before getting 17th-ranked Max Schrock to pop out to third and get out of the inning.

"I train myself and tell myself to keep my composure," the 2016 fourth-round pick said. "No need to freak out because nothing is harmed yet. You can still get out of it. Just got to be mentally tough."

Video: Reyes' three-run shot for San Antonio

The shutdown inning came after Franmil Reyes belted a long three-run blast to left-center off reliever Carlos Navas that gave San Antonio a 6-0 lead. The Missions did most of their damage against Athletics No. 9 prospect Grant Holmes (0-1), who was reached for five runs -- three earned -- on six hits with two walks and one whiff over 4 1/3 innings. 

No. 4 Padres prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. collected three singles and drove in a run, while Javier Guerra plated two runs with a triple and a single. Reyes also doubled and scored twice. 

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"I just thought as a whole, we just strung together lots of really good at-bats. From top to bottom," Wellman said.

Game 4 is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET at Security Bank Ballpark.

In other TL playoff action:

Naturals 7, Drillers 3

No. 14 Royals prospect Ryan O'Hearn went 3-for-4 with an RBI, while 13th-ranked Samir Duenez and Mauricio Ramos drove in two runs apiece as the Naturals took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-5 North Division final. Kyle Garlick and Blake Gailen hit back-to-back homers in the first inning for the Drillers. Game 4 is slated is Saturday in Tulsa. Box score

Gerard Gilberto is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @GerardGilberto4. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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