San Antonio erased an early six-run hole in a memorable, 8-7 comeback win over Arkansas Saturday night before 5,923 at Wolff Stadium.
Jerry Keel got the ball for the Missions looking to follow up a sterling first start at Northwest Arkansas last Sunday in Springdale. His 2018 Wolff debut got off to a rocky start as the Travs jumped him for four in the first, highlighted by designated hitter Joey Curletta's two-run dinger to left center.
An inning later, Arkansas (5-4) used the long ball again, taking a 6-0 lead on Braden Bishop's two-run blast onto the berm in left. However, Keel settled down after the Bishop homer, holding the Travs without a hit over the next three frames.
San Antonio's bats began to chip away at the big early deficit in the bottom of the second against righty Nathan Bannister courtesy of consecutive run-scoring singles from Peter Van Gansen and Rod Boykin.
Ty France, whose single initiated the second inning rally, trimmed the San Antonio deficit to three in the third with a base knock to center that scored Josh Naylor.
In the fifth, the Missions kept the comeback going, pulling within one against Bannister on RBI-doubles by France (game-high three hits) and Michael Gettys.
San Antonio's momentum was briefly halted in the sixth when Curletta went deep again, this time a solo shot off righty Jared Carkuff (arrived back from El Paso earlier in day) that pushed the lead back to two.
Unfazed, the Missions went back to work in the seventh when Austin Allen doubled, then later came in to score on Kyle Overstreet's two bagger off reliever Matt Festa.
In the eighth, the Missions made one final charge. Forrestt Allday began the rally with a one-out single to right. Festa was then replaced by Art Warren, who promptly allowed a Naylor single to center. After a wild pitch moved Allday to third, Warren got Fernando Tatis Jr. out on strikes. However, Warren (1-1) couldn't preserve the Travs' lead. A passed ball charged to Joe DeCarlo allowed Allday to plate the tying run and move Naylor into scoring position. That brought up Allen, who sliced a single down the right-field line, driving in Naylor with the go-ahead run.
Rowan Wick (1st save) made sure to wrap up the sensational comeback with a perfect ninth. Jose Castillo (1-0) picked up the win with two scoreless innings of relief.
San Antonio (6-3) resumes its opening homestand of 2018 Sunday with the first of three against Northwest Arkansas (3-6). First pitch is slated for 2:05 PM. Jesse Scholtens (1-0, 0.00) will get the ball for the Missions in Sunday's series opener, while the Naturals counter with fellow righty Glenn Sparkman (0-1, 5.79).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.