San Antonio rode an impressive pitching performance to a 2-0 win over Northwest Arkansas in Monday afternoon's rubber game at Wolff Stadium.
Runs were at a premium in Monday's showdown between first-half champions. Chris Huffman got the ball for San Antonio in his fourth Wolff start since arriving from High-A Lake Elsinore. Like he had been in his previous home starts (2-0 with a 1.77 ERA), Huffman was very effective Monday, keeping the Naturals off the board through his first six innings despite walking four. The right-hander halted scoring chances by limiting the opposition to just four hits, while striking out five during those frames.
His offense struggled against mound opponent Corey Ray early on as well, until the fifth when catcher Webster Rivas broke the scoreless tie with a double to left.
An inning later, the Missions doubled the lead against Ray (5-6) courtesy of a Franmil Reyes sacrifice fly to left.
Huffman (4-2) would take his two-run advantage back to the mound in the seventh, but a Allan de San Miguel double and a Nicky Lopez single quickly ended his day. San Antonio summoned southpaw Kyle McGrath out of the pen, but the lefty compounded things by walking Jack Lopez to load the bases. Fortunately for the Missions, McGrath stepped up and pulled out a very impressive escape, getting a Samir Duenez lineout to first and a Zach Walters inning-ending double play.
All-Star relievers Eric Yardley and Trey Wingenter (ninth save) handled the eighth and ninth respectively to preserve San Antonio's league-leading 10th shutout and league-leading 52nd win of the season.
Following an off day, San Antonio (11-7, 52-36) will begin a four-game series Wednesday with Frisco (8-9, 39-48) at Dr Pepper Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM. Enyel De Los Santos (5-4, 4.55) will get the ball for the Missions in the opener, while the RoughRiders counter with fellow righty Ariel Jurado (7-5, 4.39).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.