San Antonio was again propelled by a strong starting pitching performance. Last night it was Kyle Lloyd making his first start of the year and tonight it was Bryce Morrow, who put together his best effort of the season so far going six strong innings and only giving up one earned run for his first victory of the season.
“It is an outing he has to build on,” said Missions’ manager Phillip Wellman. “His command was outstanding, he was down in the zone which is what he has to do.”
“He’s had some tough games, but he kept on working which you really have to respect.”
Shortstop Jose Rondon opened the scoring with a solo home run to left field in the first inning, his third of the year. Rondon has shown increased power this year and his three home runs equal his total between the High-A Lake Elsinore Storm and the Missions last season.
The Naturals tied the game in the fourth, but right fielder Nick Schulz, who was called up from the Storm in late April, came through in the sixth inning with a two-out single to right and later in the eighth inning with a two-out single to left for an insurance run.
“With two outs I’m just trying to not swing out of my shoes because the important thing is to get the run over,” said Schulz on his approach.
“I’ve kind of grown as a player and am trying to understand the game more, what different situations require.”
It wasn’t a perfect game, as the Missions made a pair of errors and missed making a few bunts, but to Wellman it is a step in the right direction.
“The players learn way more in games like this that are tight compared to out slugging the opposition.”
“If you execute, you can win.”
Notes: Wellman was ejected in the bottom of the sixth inning for arguing a double-play in which second baseman Nelson Ward was called out for sliding outside of the baseline. It wasn’t quite an incident like this, but it still was a bad call…Ward had three walks on the night and looks like a much better hitter than his current batting average…A pair of nice defensive plays in the outfield. In the third inning CF Auston Bousfield threw a strike to catcher Ricardo Valenzuela to gun down Terrence Gore, one of the fastest players in the league. Nick Torres also made a nice sliding catch on a sinking line drive in the eighth inning.