Despite facing an avalanche of injuries this season, the Midland RockHounds find themselves one win away from the Texas League finals. Midland earned a 3-2 victory over the Frisco RoughRiders on Friday night to take a two-games-to-one lead in their best-of-five series.
A's 2014 top pick Matt Chapman got his second start of the series and he had another big game at the plate. After collecting two hits in Game Two, Chapman had a double and a homer and he drove-in two in the Game Three win.
Daniel Robertson, promoted from High-A Stockton on Friday to replace the injured Hiroyuki Nakajima on the RockHounds' roster, had a hit and the other Midland RBI. Robertson, who reached base three times in Stockton's loss on Thursday, took an early morning flight from Sacramento to Midland this morning and played an unfamiliar position (second base), but he still had an impact on the RockHounds. On defense, he ended the game by snaring a line-drive and doubling off the would-be tying run.
The Midland pitching staff was outstanding. Chris Jensen, who was scratched from his scheduled Game Two start with an illness, pitched like a Texas League All-Star in Game Three. He reached the seventh inning and allowed two runs (one earned) in 6.1 innings. He struck-out five and walked one.
Jensen would be stuck with a no-decision after reliever Omar Duran allowed an inherited runner to score in the seventh. That tied the game at two. However, the RockHounds scored a run in the bottom of the seventh. Marcus Walden struck-out four in 1.2 scoreless innings and Jose Flores pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the win. Walden was credited with the victory.
Chapman's solo homerun in the seventh was the game-winning hit. Chapman hit five homers in 54 games for Low-A Beloit during the regular season.
RHP Shawn Haviland gets the call in Game Four on Saturday. Midland can advance to the Texas League finals with a win. The RockHounds last won the TL crown in 2009, when Josh Donaldson, Chris Carter, Adrian Cardenas, Corey Brown, Tom Everidge, Graham Godfrey and Travis Banwart were stars for the club.