San Antonio rode the right arm of Chris Huffman to an 8-1 victory over Corpus Christi in the deciding Game 5 of the Texas League South Division Series Sunday night at Whataburger Field.
Sunday's Game 5 started in an eerily familiar fashion for the Hooks.
Nearly five years to the date, the clubs met in an epic TLDS Game 5 in Corpus Christi. In that winner-take-all contest, the Missions jumped out to a 3-0 first inning lead on lefty David Rollins en route to a 5-3 win.
In Sunday's contest, the visitors from San Antonio came out swinging, putting immediate pressure on southpaw Brett Adcock. Buddy Reed began the game by working a five-pitch walk and quickly moved to third when shortstop Owen Miller followed with a single to left. Adcock was able to breathe for a moment when next batter, Josh Naylor, lined out to second baseman Ryne Birk. However, Kyle Overstreet put the Missions up 1-0 when he lined Adcock's first pitch into left for a single. Adcock would compound his troubles when he walked catcher Austin Allen to load the bases. After Hudson Potts struck out for the second out of the inning, designated hitter Webster Rivas came up big once again, pushing the San Antonio lead to 3-0 with a two-run single to right center. The Rivas knock also ended the night for Adcock (0-1).
Staked to a three-run lead, Huffman calmly worked through the Hooks lineup, retiring the side in each of his first three innings. Huffman would get more offensive assistance in the fourth when the Missions built a 5-0 following a Michael Gettys RBI-double to left and Reed's sacrifice fly to right against newcomer Carson LaRue.
Huffman allowed his first hit in the fourth and two more in the fifth, but in both circumstances, kept the Hooks at bay.
In the seventh, Naylor drove in Reed from third with a single to pad the lead to six. Corpus Christi finally broke up the Huffman shutout bid in the seventh with Randy Cesar's two-out solo homer to left center. In seven sensational innings, Huffman (1-0) allowed just four hits and one walk, while striking out three.
San Antonio tacked on two final runs in the ninth against Erasmo Pinales.
After right-hander David Bednar worked out of a jam in the eighth, Missions skipper Phillip Wellman called on closer Andres Munoz for the ninth. Despite it not being a save situation, the hard-throwing 19-year-old was as filthy as ever. Munoz would induce a pair of fly outs before striking out Cesar to end the series and send the 13-time TL champs back to the Finals for the first time since 2013.
San Antonio will meet the Tulsa Drillers in the 2018 Texas League Championship Series, beginning Tuesday night at ONEOK Field. First pitch in Tulsa is set for 7:05 PM. Neither team has announced a Game 1 starter yet. Following a travel day Thursday, the TLCS will move to Wolff Stadium for Game 3 Friday at 7:05 PM.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.