Midland erupted for five runs in the eighth to stun San Antonio 6-3 in Game 4 of the Texas League Division Series Saturday night at Security Bank Ballpark.
With a chance to dethrone the RockHounds Saturday, the Missions came out swinging. Fernando Tatis Jr. led off the game against right-hander Heath Fillmyer with a single to right. After a Fillmyer wild pitch moved Tatis Jr. into scoring position, Luis Urias gave San Antonio a 1-0 lead when he followed with a double into left center. Josh Naylor singled to right, moving Urias to third. That brought up Franmil Reyes, who made the score 2-0 with a sacrifice fly to center.
Missions' lefty Eric Lauer navigated rather easily through his first three innings before running into a jam in the fourth when J.P. Sportman and Sheldon Neuse opened the frame with singles. Tyler Ramirez attempted to move the runners up with a bunt. However, Ramirez failed on all three bunt attempts resulting in a strikeout. Lauer then got more help when Sean Murphy flew out to right. Instead of just getting one out on the play, Lauer got two and out of the inning when Reyes doubled off Sportman at second.
San Antonio added to its lead in the fifth courtesy of a Josh Naylor run-scoring groundout with the bases loaded. Fillmyer fanned Reyes to escape further trouble.
In the bottom of the inning, Midland finally broke through against Lauer. With runners on the corners and two outs, Viosergy Rosa delivered the RockHounds' first run since Game 2 with a single to left center. Missions' skipper Phillip Wellman elected to bring in right-hander Eric Yardley to face Sportman. The move worked as Yardley induced an inning-ending groundout to second.
Midland would threaten again in the seventh. After getting the first out of the frame, Yardley walked Jermaine Curtis and was lifted for lefty Jose Castillo. Up for Midland was Rosa. Castillo stayed away from the powerful slugger, walking Rosa on five pitches. Fortunately for the Missions, Castillo got his club out of trouble when he induced Sportman to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play.
In the eighth, however, San Antonio would not be as fortunate as control issues that plagued them all night long intensified. Brad Wieck, who began the inning, got each of his first two batters to full counts, but lost both to walks. After Sean Murphy delivered a sac bunt, Wieck (0-1) walked Jordan Tarsovich to load the bases. All-Star closer Trey Wingenter was summoned early to try to get San Antonio out of another jam. The right-hander got ahead of Jorge Mateo 0-2, but his third pitch was doubled into left. The Mateo two-bagger cleared the bases, giving the 'Hounds their first lead of the night. After another walk, Curtis singled in Mateo to make the score 5-3. Midland would add one more later in the frame off T.J. Weir courtesy of a Rosa RBI-groundout.
Kyle Finnegan (1-0), who had entered in the eighth, worked around a one-out Auston Bousfield single in the ninth to close the door and force a Game 5.
The series moves back to San Antonio Sunday at 6:05 PM for a winner-take-all showdown. Right-hander Jacob Nix (1-2, 5.53) will get the ball for the Missions in Game 5. Midland has yet to announce a starter.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.