Photo by Chris Lockard /

Midland RockHounds power way to Texas League finals

For a second consecutive season, the Midland RockHounds are headed to the Texas League finals.

Despite losing two key offensive contributors to injuries in game three of their series, the Midland RockHounds breezed to a South Division finals victory with a 4-1 win over the Corpus Christi Hooks. Starter Jake Sanchez had an outstanding outing and the RockHounds homered three times to move one step closer to defending their Texas League title.

The RockHounds were without slugger Josh Whitaker (broken finger), who had homered twice already in the series, and Texas League MVP Chad Pinder (hamstring), both of whom were injured in Midland's 9-5 win on Friday night. Despite those losses, Midland cruised to a 3-1 series win over the Hooks, who had the best regular season record in the Texas League.

Coming off of a strong first season at the Double-A level, Jake Sanchez had an outstanding first post-season start for Midland. In seven innings, he allowed just one run on six hits. He struck-out five and walked none. Sanchez carried a shutout into the seventh before allowing his only run of the game.

In the eighth inning, Kris Hall took over for Sanchez. He loaded the bases with one out on two hits and a walk. Brendan McCurry took over with the go-ahead run at the plate, and he struck-out Jack Mayfield and Conrad Gregor to keep the game at 4-1. He then worked around a lead-off single in the ninth to close out the game and the series.

The RockHounds had 11 hits in the game and five of them went for extra bases. Jaycob Brugman had another huge game, homering, doubling and walking out of the lead-off spot. Ryon Healy and Matt Olson also homered for Midland, which scored all of its runs on homers.

The RockHounds will take on the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in the Texas League finals. The Naturals swept the Arkansas Travelers in the North Division finals.

Other Notes

- J.P. Sportman and Yairo Munoz have joined the Midland roster for the remainder of the playoffs. They replace Josh Whitaker and Chad Pinder on the RockHounds' active roster.

- A's rookie Sean Nolin earned his first major-league win in his second start in the big leagues. He beat the Texas Rangers in the A's 5-3 win. Nolin allowed a run in 5.2 innings. He struck-out five and walked two.

- A's rookie Ryan Dull threw two more scoreless innings in relief for the A's on Saturday to increase his streak of scoreless big league innings to eight to start his career.

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