The Midland RockHounds staved off elimination and forced a winner-takes-all Game Five in their Texas League semifinal series with a come-from-behind 6-3 win over the San Antonio Missions on Saturday night. The Vermont Lake Monsters won an important Game One of their best-of-three semifinal series with late comeback in an 8-3 win over the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
The RockHounds, who are playing for an unprecedented fourth-straight Texas League title, were six outs from being eliminated from the post-season when their offense erupted for five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Trailing 3-1 at the start of the eighth, Sheldon Neuse and Tyler Ramirez drew walks to start the inning. After a Sean Murphy sacrifice bunt, Jordan Tarsovich walked to load the bases. Jorge Mateo then hit a bases-clearing double to give the RockHounds a sudden 4-3 lead. After a Max Schrock walk, the RockHounds would tack on two insurance runs with a RBI single from Jermaine Curtis and an RBI groundout from Viosergy Rosa.
Kyle Finnegan didn’t need the extra cushion. After recording the final out in the eighth inning, he worked around a single in the ninth to lock down the dramatic win.
Heath Fillmyer pitched well as the starter, but he was in-line for the loss after throwing 6.2 innings. He allowed three runs on nine hits and one walk. He struck-out five. Brandon Mann threw a scoreless inning to bridge the gap between Fillmyer and Finnegan. He struck-out three.
Mateo had a huge game at the plate. He had three hits, including the game-winning double, and he stole two bases. Neuse had two hits and a walk, Curtis singled and walked three times, and Ramirez doubled and walked.
Both teams hopped in the bus after the game and headed back to San Antonio. Game Five will be played on Sunday at 4;00pm PST/ 6:00pm CST.
Meanwhile, in Burlington, Vermont, the Lake Monsters kicked off their best-of-three semifinal series with a dramatic win.
Starter Parker Dunshee didn’t allow a regular season run for Vermont, but he was touched for two runs in two innings on Saturday. Brian Howard allowed a run in four innings in relief of Dunshee, and the Lake Monsters trailed, 3-1, going into the bottom of the seventh. That’s when the Vermont offense got busy.
After Javier Godard reached on an error to start the seventh, the Lake Monsters loaded the bases with one-out on walks to Will Toffey and Ryan Gridley. Slugger Logan Farrar then followed with a grandslam that put the Lake Monsters ahead, 5-3. Greg Deichmann followed with a solo blast to make it 6-3. The Lake Monsters would add two more runs in the eighth inning on a two-run Godard blast.
Toffey reached base four times on a hit and three walks and Aaron Arruda had two hits. Heath Donica got the win in relief, striking out all four batters that he faced.
The series moves to Mahoning Valley for Game Two on Monday.
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