Missions lose in 13

San Antonio, TX.: As with their parent club in San Diego, the Missions have one of the best pitching staffs in the Texas League and maybe in minor league baseball. Also, as with the Padres, they can have a lot of trouble scoring runs as was evident in Saturday night's loss to the Frisco RoughRiders.

A big reason for the offensive struggles, as with San Diego, is the conditions that the Missions play in. The constant swirling south Texas winds not only keep balls from going out but also keep many in the air long enough for outfielders to get under them; which leads to quite a few close games as with the one tonight.

"Yeah, the conditions are tough, but there are two teams playing," said Steve Buechele, Frisco's manager. "It's the hand you are dealt, so you have to find a way to win."

In their last eight games against the RoughRiders, the Missions have scored a grand total of ten runs.

With top prospects James Darnell and Logan Forsythe injured, San Antonio has been searching for offense, especially on the right side of the plate.

Starting pitcher Jeremy Hefner went six strong innings allowing only a single run while striking out six against only three walks. He nearly got out of the fifth inning without allowing the run when Frisco's third baseman Renny Osuna hit an 0-2 pitch to right-center to bring home the run.

The Missions flailed all night at the plate and were 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Even when the team was able to put together three straight singles to open the bottom of the sixth inning they were still only able to squeeze one run out of the inning as the wind allowed two drives by catcher Mitch Canham and second baseman Jesus Lopez to stay in the air long enough to be caught.

As good as Hefner was the Missions bullpen was even better with Brandon Gomes, Craig Italiano and Evan Scribner each throwing two innings of scoreless relief.

In the top of the 12th, the Rough Riders had runners on first and third with one out but Scribner was able to get out of the inning with a weak fly to second and a ground out to shortstop.

What is scary is the performances by Hefner and the bullpen have been fairly typical in the past few weeks for San Antonio. In the last ten games, the Missions have allowed three runs or less and the starters have a combined ERA of 1.39.

In the top of the 13th, the RoughRiders finally broke through when right fielder Joey Butler opened with a ground rule double. The next batter singled followed by another single by DH Emerson Frostad that broke the tie.

Things got worse when Canham was ruled to have interfered with the batter which loaded the bases. Bryan Oland, the fourth Missions relief pitcher of the night, then walked in a run to make it 3-1.

In the bottom of frame, San Antonio made it interesting as third baseman Christian Colonel lined to left for a single and right fielder Kellen Kulbacki's seeing eye single took a bad hop off of the second baseman's glove to put runners on first and third. Canham then singled to bring home Colonel to make it 3-2. Sawyer Carroll pinch hit for Lopez but struck out with runners on first and second to end the game.

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