'Hounds rally late to stun Missions, force Game 5

(Matthew Barnett)

By Bob Hards / Midland RockHounds | September 10, 2017 12:21 AM ET

Don't look now, but the champs are still standing.

Six outs away from seeing their season end and facing the Texas League's best pitching staff, the RockHounds rallied for five runs in the last of the eighth inning to defeat the San Antonio Missions, 6-3 on Saturday night at Security Bank Ballpark. 

The win forces a decisive fifth game in the South Division Series on Sunday evening at 6:05 p.m. at Nelson Wolff Stadium in San Antonio.

The RockHounds trailed 3-1, entering the eighth and facing reliever Brad Wieck . The left-hander, who had issued just 13 walks in 30.2 innings in the regular season, walked Sheldon Neuse and Tyler Ramirez to open the inning, putting the tying runs on base. Sean Murphy then pushed the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt on an 0-2 pitch as the bunt coming to a stop, literally on the base line. Jordan Tarsovich then drew the third walk issued by Wieck, loading the bases with one out. 

San Antonio closer Trey Wingenter (a league-leading 20 saves in 26 opportunities during the regular season) relieved Wieck and got ahead of Jorge Mateo , 0-2. Mateo then sent Wingenter's next pitch into the left field corner for a bases-clearing double that erased the two-run deficit and gave the 'Hounds a 4-3 lead.


Max Schrock drew a walk, with Mateo stealing third, and Jermaine Curtis (after Schrock had stolen second) drilled an RBI single to right to make the score 5-3. Schrock, who advanced to third on Curtis' single, scored on Viosergy Rosa 's ground out to second, capping the five-run inning in which the RockHounds batted around.

Kyle Finnegan closed the door in the ninth for the win, allowing only a single by Auston Bousfield

Heath Fillmyer overcame a two-run first inning and was outstanding the rest of the way, giving up just one more run while pitching into the seventh inning and keeping the 'Hounds close (6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R/3 ER, 1 IBB, 5 K, 1 HBP).

The RockHounds did not go up-and-down in order in any inning, but missed multiple scoring chances. Entering the eighth, the 'Hounds had left 10 men on base, hit into a pair of double plays and had one caught stealing, while scoring only one run.

Luis Urias had an RBI double in the first and Franmil Reyes lifted a sacrifice fly to deep right-center in the Missions' two-run first inning, with the teams exchanged runs in the fifth. Bousfield led off the Missions' fifth with a single, moving to third on a double from Fernando Tatis Jr and scoring on Josh Naylor 's ground out. 

The RockHounds got on the board in the home half of the same inning. Mateo singled to left and advanced on a ground out before stealing third. He then scored on an opposite field RBI single from Rosa, making the score 3-1.

Quick Notes:

The Missions bid to return to the Texas League Championship Series for the sixth time since 2002 while the 'Hounds look to make their sixth appearance since 2009. The Missions and RockHounds have won 10 of the last 15 league titles, each club winning five. 

Viosergy Rosa drove in two runs (single, ground out) and now has 11 RBI in the first four games of the series. Rosa opened the series with an eight-RBI game at Nelson Wolff Stadium.

Jorge Mateo entered the game just 2-for-14 in the first three games of the series. He went 3-for-5, scored two runs and drove in three. He stole his first two bases of the postseason and was caught once by Mission catcher Stephen McGee .

2017 Texas League South Division Series - Game 5:

Missions RHP Jacob Nix (1-2, 5.53 ERA)

RockHounds RHP Joel Seddon (3-4, 5.00 ERA)

Nix was selected by the San Diego Padres in the third round of the 2015 draft, out of the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The third-year pro (second full season) opened the 2017 season with the Lake Elsinore Storm of the Class-A Advanced California League before being promoted to the Missions. He made his Double-A debut against the RockHounds on August 4 at Security Bank Ballpark, earning the win in a 17-3 game. Nix went five innings, allowing two earned runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out three. The 21-year-old from Fullerton, California, also faced the 'Hounds on August 29 at Security Bank Ballpark, a no-decision in the Missions' 10-8 comeback win (5 IP, 3 H, 3 R/0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K). 

Seddon was selected by the Oakland A's in the 11th round of the 2014 draft out of the University of South Carolina. He was a member of the 2016 Texas League championship club and was a remarkable "turnaround story" along the way, going 1-6 with a 7.48 ERA in the first half and 8-3 with a 1.84 ERA in the second half (9-9, 4.40 ERA for the season). Seddon went 2-0, 2.45 in the 2016 Texas League playoffs, winning the opening game of both the South Division Series against Corpus Christi and Astros #1 prospect Francis Martes  and the Texas League Championship Series against Arkansas. He has pitched primarily out of the bullpen in 2017, including nine appearances (one start) against San Antonio.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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