North Little Rock, Arkansas - The San Antonio Missions rallied ahead by six runs and held on for a 6-5 defeat of the Arkansas Travelers in game four of the Texas League Championship Series. Juan Oramas (W, 1-0) dealt six scoreless innings to earn the win, while Yeison Asencio led the Missions with three RBI. The Travelers were led by first baseman C.J. Cron, who homered (4) and drove in four runs.
The Missions' victory sends the series to a fifth-and-deciding game on Sunday afternoon at 2:10 p.m.
After leaving a runner at second base in the first and second innings, San Antonio broke through in the third. Jeudy Valdez hit a leadoff single to right field and was forced at second when Rico Noel reached base on a fielder's choice. Noel ran on a pitch to Cory Spangenberg and advanced to third when the Missions second baseman hit a single to right field. Austin Hedges knocked home the run with a sacrifice fly to deep center field.
The Missions were set up in the fourth inning with runners at second and third with no outs after Jake Blackwood led off with a bloop single followed by a double down the third base line by Yeison Asencio. A sacrifice fly hit by Adam Buschini scored Blackwood for a 2-0 Missions lead. Then Rocky Gale executed a suicide squeeze bunt to score Asencio for a 3-0 lead.
San Antonio appeared to be quiet in the fifth inning, but found a way to put together their biggest inning of the series. With two outs and no base runners Hedges grounded a single up the first-base line. Lay Batista then hit Robert Kral with a pitch and walked Blackwood to load the bases before exiting the game. Right hander Elvin Ramirez relieved to face Asencio, who hit a liner just out of the reach of a diving Randal Grichuk in right field. With the ball rolling past Grichuk all three runners scored to raise San Antonio to a 6-0 lead.
Oramas controlled the Travs' lineup throughout his six innings without allowing a runner past first base. Only three batters reached against the lefty with singles by Grichuk and Kaleb Cowart plus one walk. Oramas, who has thrown 12 scoreless innings during the post season, also struck out seven batters.
The Travs started to get back into the game once the San Antonio bullpen got involved. Ryan Kelly relieved in the seventh and hit Cyle Hankerd with a pitch. Cron followed with an RBI double to right-center to get the Travs on the scoreboard. Kelly left the game in favor of Tim Sexton after retiring Robbie Widlansky on a fly out. Sexton got Jimmy Swift to bounce to third base keeping Cron at second, but he followed by walking Cowart. Travis Witherspoon hit a grounder near third base that backed Blackwood behind the bag. He missed on a tough backhanded attempt and deflected the ball into foul territory allowing Cron to score while Cowart held at third on Witherspoon's double. Both scored when Ryan Jones lined a pinch-hit single to left field to cut the lead to 6-4.
San Antonio brought Leonel Campos as their third pitcher of the seventh inning. He walked Grichuk to bring the go-ahead run the plate, but the rally fizzled when Taylor Lindsey popped out.
Campos came back for the eighth inning and allowed Cron a solo home run to right field, but also struck out the other three batters and held a 6-5 lead.
Jeremy McBryde worked the ninth inning and retired the bottom third of the Travs' order to save the game (3).
Lay Batista (L, 0-1) took the loss allowing six runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings.
The last game of the 2013 season is set for Sunday afternoon when the Travelers and Missions engage in a winner-takes-all fifth game of the Texas League Championship Series. Arkansas All-Star righty Brandon Hynick, (0-1, 1.13) will get the start against veteran San Antonio righty Josh Geer (1-0, 3.00). First pitch is set for 2:10 p.m. and gates open at 1:10 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.