Auston Bousfield's walk-off single in the bottom of the 14th delivered San Antonio a 5-4 win over Northwest Arkansas in front of a home-opening sellout crowd of 6,617 Thursday night.
Thursday's opener got off to an inauspicious start as the Naturals jumped Missions' starter Michael Kelly for two runs in the top of the first courtesy of back-to-back RBI hits by Samir Duenez (triple) and Frank Schwindel (single).
The Missions' offense picked up Kelly in their first turn at bat, tying the game at two off lefty Matt Tenuta. Nick Torres knocked in the first run on a single into right center. Later in the frame, Franmil bounced into a productive double play, scoring Noah Perio from third.
The score remained the same until the fourth when Nick Schulz took Tenuta deep onto the berm in left. The two-run shot by Schulz was his second of the young season.
After the slow start, Kelly settled into a nice groove, not allowing another run or hit over the next four innings. Northwest Arkansas eventually took advantage of Kelly's exit (and an error) in the seventh, knotting the score at four against the pen duo of Justin Hancock and Brad Wieck.
The game quickly turned into a battle of bullpens as the two units traded zeroes through the 13th. However, in the bottom of the 14th, San Antonio finally pieced together a game-winning rally.
Luis Rico ran into trouble right away, putting the first two Mission batters on after plunking Fernando Perez and walking Nick Schulz. After River Stevens moved the runners up with a sac bunt, Rico (0-1) intentionally walked catcher A.J. Kennedy to load the bases. The brought up Bousfield, who ripped a single past shortstop Humberto Arteaga, ending a game of four-hours, 30 minutes.
Trey Wingenter (1-0) picked up the win in relief, but more importantly, San Antonio skipper Phillip Wellman earned his 1,000th career win in the process.
First place San Antonio (5-2) continues its three-game series with Northwest Arkansas (2-5) Friday at 7:05 PM. The first 1,500 fans to enter The Wolff will receive a FREE Missions Thermal Mug courtesy of 54th Street. Enyel De Los Santos (0-0, 1.50) will get the ball for the Missions, while the Naturals counter with fellow righty Miguel Almonte (0-0, 3.38).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.