Harry Houdini and David Copperfield would be proud. The RockHounds made a potential game-changing rally "disappear" in the first inning and made two potential game-ending threats "vanish" in the eighth and ninth, to defeat the Arkansas Travelers, 4-3 at Dickey-Stephens Park.
The 'Hounds built a 4-0 lead the third consecutive night and held off the opposition for the second straight game.
After B.J. Boyd homered in the top of the first, the Travelers loaded the bases with no outs on three consecutive singles off Heath Fillmyer in the home half of the opening inning. Fillmyer performed the night's first "vanishing act," getting a pop out, a strikeout and a fly ball out to right to deny the Travelers. The fly ball out, off the bat of Seth Mejias-Brean , came on a full count in an at bat that started with a 3-0 count.
Video: Midland's Boyd rips first-inning home run
Boyd singled in the fourth and Max Schrock - after fouling off three 0-2 pitches - was hit by a pitch. Tyler Ramirez 's two-out single scored Boyd and Schrock later came home from third when Ramirez stole second and Arkansas' Nelson Ward misplayed the throw. Back-to-back singles from Schrock and Viosergy Rosa put runners at the corners with one out in the sixth and J.P. Sportman hustled to beat out a potential double play, bringing Schrock home with what would become the game-winning run.
Fillmyer - after escaping the bases-loaded jam in the first - went six innings and allowed just one run. After the three first inning singles, Fillmyer scattered five more hits to earn his eighth win of the season (8-4, 3.63 ERA) and his third in his last five starts.
Carlos Navas followed Joel Seddon to the mound with two on and out in the eighth and pulled the last two "rabbits out of the baseball hat." He surrendered a walk and a two-run single (to Tyler Marlette ), cutting the 'Hounds lead to 4-3. In the ninth, Navas issued a four-pitch walk with one out to Chris Mariscol, putting the tying run on with the #3 and #4 hitters coming to the plate. After a visit from pitching coach Don Schulze, Navas got Chuck Taylor to pop out to third and struck Ryan Casteel out looking to end the game.
The RockHounds are:
57-61 overall … 22-26 in the second half ... have won two straight and three of five
are 2-2 on the six-game road trip … 1-2 at Northwest Arkansas and 1-0 at Arkansas
4-3 in the season series vs. the Travelers ... 3-1 at Dickey-Stephens Park and 1-2 at Security Bank Ballpark … the clubs will meet in a three-game set next Friday-Sunday (August 18-20) at Security Bank Ballpark
the only South Division club to post a win Friday night
third in the Texas League South ... 5.5 games behind the San Antonio Missions and 0.5 games behind Corpus Christi (the Hooks were shut out by Springfield, 7-0 with Jon Singleton breaking up a Cardinals no-hit bid in the ninth)
back to 0.5 games up on Corpus Christi in the (potential) South Division wild card race (with 22 games remaining)
32-25 at home … 25-36 on the road
15-25 versus the North Division and 42-36 versus the South
Viosergy Rosa (1-for-4, 2 K's) has hit in six straight games (12-for-25, .480), with two doubles, a triple and four RBI.
Tyler Ramirez (1-for-4, RBI, stolen base) has hit in six straight games (9-23, .391) with two doubles and four RBI.
Max Schrock (2-for-3, two runs, hit by pitch) has reached base in 12 straight games (17-for-45, .378) with nine RBI … has hits in 19-of-his-last-22 (32-83 .386) and has reached base in 32-of-35 games (44-129, .341).
B.J. Boyd (2-for-4, home run, two runs) has reached base in seven straight games (12-for-29, .414) and is hitting .383 (18-for-47) in his last 12. The solo home run was Boyd's first extra-base hit since a triple on July 24.
Branden Cogswell (0-2, walk, caught stealing) has reached base in six straight games (4-for-13, .308, four walks, .471 OBP) and is hitting .306 (11-for-36) since July 10 in limited playing time.
Jorge Mateo (0-for-4) lost a nine-game on-base streak (he had reached in each of his first nine with the RockHounds).
The RockHounds and Travelers continue their three-game weekend series at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock on Saturday and Sunday with first pitch at 6:10 p.m. both evenings.
The RockHounds are back home next Tuesday-Sunday (August 15-20) to host Northwest Arkansas and the Travelers at Security Bank Ballpark.
Saturday's probable starters:
Travelers - RHP Nick Neidert (0-3, 5.74 ERA)
RockHounds - RHP Casey Meisner (4-3, 4.46 ERA)
Neidert makes his fifth start at the Double-A level since being promoted from the Modesto Nuts of the Class-A Advanced California League. Selected by Seattle in the second round of the 2015 draft out of Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee, Georgia, he is rated the Mariners' #3 prospect by Baseball America and #2 by MLB.com. The 20-year-old Atlanta, Georgia native posted a nearly 6.5-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio with Modesto and has a career ratio of 5:1.
Meisner makes his ninth start and his first against Arkansas. After dropping his first three decisions in as many starts, the 6-foot-7 right-hander is 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA in his last four starts. He was named the Texas League Pitcher of the Week for July-31-August 6. Meisner went six innings in a 10-1 win at Frisco on August 1 and added seven shutout innings against San Antonio last Sunday, August 6 in a 6-0 win over the division-leading Missions at Security Bank Ballpark. For the week, the 22-year-old Cypress, Texas native went 13 shutout innings, allowing six hits and one walk while striking out nine (a 0.54 WHIP and .136 opponent average). Originally selected by the New York Mets in the third round of the 2013 draft out of Cypress Woods High School, Meisner came to Oakland via trade in July 2015 and is now rated Oakland's # 26 prospect by MLB.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.