Thursday: Springfield 11, Midland 10 (13 innings)

The John Brayfield Report on the Springfield AA Cardinals

Rick Ankiel took another leap toward becoming a much-needed clutch hitter as he hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 13th inning to give the Springfield Cardinals an 11-10 win over the Midland RockHounds in a franchise longest game record of five hours and 27 minutes.

The game began with Oscar Alverez on the mound for the Cards giving up two runs to the RockHounds in the first inning, but the Cards shocked the Hounds with five runs in he bottom of the first to take a 5-2 lead. Aaron Herr hit a two-run double, Dan Moylan hit an RBI double driving in Papo Bolivar, and Herr, batting for the second time in the inning, drove in two more runs with a one-out single.

In the third inning, Dan Moylan singled and was driven in home on a Brendan Ryan double to left field making it 6-2.

But the RockHounds were not about to roll-over and play dead, managing to tie the game in the eighth inning at 7-7. In the ninth inning, Midland scored off reliever Cory Doyne to take an 8-7 lead but the Cards came back in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game with the help of a one-out solo homer by Brendan Ryan.

The two teams played scoreless baseball into the 12th inning when Midland's Andre Ethier singled and stole second base. Ethier tagged and moved to third on a fly ball and scored on a wild pitch from reliever Alan Benes to give the RockHounds a 9-8 lead.

Tyler Minges led off the Cardinal's 12th with a double and went to third on a ground ball to third by Aaron Herr. Travis Hanson hit a sac fly to deep right to bring in the tying run making it 9-9.

Cardinal fans held their breath in the top of the 13th as Kevin Melillo's solo home run off Benes gave the Hounds a 10-9 lead, a lead that looked like it might stand as the Cards made two quick outs in the bottom of the 13th. Then Hammons Field got unusually quiet as the Cardinals were down to their last strike. Shaun Boyd, with a 3-2 count, facing Midland reliever Evan Fahrner, got a miracle-single to keep the Cards alive. Rick Ankiel, then came to the plate, and with the Cards again down to their last strike, after Ankiel fouled-off several two-strike pitches, he hit a line drive down the right field line that made it over the fence giving the Springfield Cardinals their second win in as many nights.

The Good News: Cards win! Cards win two in a row. Cards win in extra innings. Rick Ankiel hit his third homer of the season--two of those coming in the last two games. Aaron Herr and Brendan Ryan each had four hits, producing eight of the Cardinals' 18 hits. Herr had four RBI on the night, tying his season best. Travis Hanson picked up his 82nd RBI of the season, the best in the Texas League, with a sacrifice fly in the 12th.

The Cardinals are 6.5 games behind Arkansas in the Texas League East Division, and improved their second half record to 20-26. Tonight (Friday) Springfield will send Jeremy Cook (4-7) to the mound to face a Midland starter to be determined before the 7:10 time.

Tickets are available at the Hammons Field Ticket Office, by calling (417) 863-2143 or online at

The game can be heard live on KWTO JOCK 98.7 FM or online at

You can write John Brayfield at

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