Huge Ninth Inning Propels Midland to Game Two Win
The Midland RockHounds rallied for seven runs in the top of the ninth inning to break open a 2-2 game and take game two of their Southern Division championship series with Corpus Christi, 9-3.
Jaycob Brugman singled home Matt Olson with one-out in the top of the ninth to give the RockHounds a 3-2 lead. Colin Walsh and Anthony Aliotti each singled home runs with the bases-loaded before Renato Nunez put an exclamation point on Midland's rally with a grandslam. The win evened the series and sent the RockHounds home with a chance to win the series at home.
Sean Manaea got the start and he was outstanding in seven innings. Manaea allowed two runs on three hits. He struck-out eight and didn't walk a batter. The only blemishes on Manaea's record were a solo homerun allowed to Colin Moran and a run-scoring triple by Jiovanni Mier.
The RockHounds moved out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to an RBI single by Olson in the second inning and a solo homerun by Josh Whitaker in the fourth inning. Whitaker's homer was his second in two playoff games. He went 3-for-4 and scored two runs in the game. Olson reached base three times with two hits and a walk, while Aliotti had a three-hit game and Nunez had two hits. The RockHounds collected 13 hits and four walks in the game.
Midland survived a scare in the bottom of the eighth before mounting their game-winning rally. The Hooks collected two singles off of reliever Ryan Doolittle, who gave way to Jeff Urlaub with two-on and one-out. Urlaub got Moran to ground into a force out and then retired the minor league home run leader A.J. Reed on a line-out to right to end the rally.
Corpus Christi manager Rodney Linares was ejected from the game with two-outs in the bottom of the ninth after Mier was called out on strikes. Conrad Gregor homered off of Brendan McCurry after the ejection, but McCurry recovered to close out the game after that.
Ports Force Decisive Game Three
The Stockton Ports pushed their series to a winner-takes-all game three with a 4-2 win over the San Jose Giants. Tyler Marincov hit a two-run homerun and Daniel Mengden went six strong innings to earn the win.
The Ports were facing a win-or-go-home situation. They jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Melvin Mercedes singled home Marincov with the bases-loaded and one-out. Stockton was unable to add-on, however, and that failure was costly when Angel Villalona hit a solo homer in the fourth inning to tie the game. The Ports would re-take the lead in the bottom of the inning when the Ports took advantage of two errors by Christian Arroyo to get B.J. Boyd to third base. Brett Vertigan drove home Boyd with the go-ahead run on a groundout to Arroyo.
The Ports would take advantage of more Giants' miscues to take a 4-1 lead in the fifth inning. With two outs and none on, Jacob Nottingham reached on a fielding error by second baseman Brendan Bednar. Marincov followed with a two-run blast and the Ports would have all the runs they would need.
The Giants hit another solo homer off of Mengden in the sixth, but the Ports' staff was able to keep San Jose off of the board after that. Mengden finished his six strong innings with a line of two runs allowed on four hits and no walks. He struck-out seven. Sam Bragg followed Mengden and he struck-out the side in the seventh. Ben Bracewell threw a scoreless eighth and Corey Walter worked around two-out single to earn the save.