El Paso and San Antonio both faced elimination from a pair of Houston Astros affiliates on Saturday and both pulled out victories to force deciding Game fives. The Missions won two games to do it.
Game 4: Chihuahuas 4, Fresno Grizzlies 2
Key Statistics: 1B Brett Nicholas 2-4, 2B, RBI; LF Shane Peterson 1-4, 2B; RHP Colin Rea 5.1 IP R ER BB 4 K; LHP Brad Wieck 1.2 IP H 2 K; RHP Colton Brewer 0.2 IP BB; LHP Jerry Keel 0.1 IP H R ER K, HR; RHP Gerardo Reyes 1.0 IP K
Prospect Watch: El Paso was down 1-0 going into the top of the seventh when they strung together five straight hits to make it 3-1 and shortstop Javy Guerra beat out a fielder’s choice to push it to 4-1. Before the four-run outburst, Grizzlies’ starter Cy Sneed had held the Chihuahuas to one hit. …The Chihuahuas got a much-needed quality start from veteran Colin Rea. Since coming off the disabled list in mid-August, the 28-year-old, who has really struggled in his return from Tommy John surgery, has allowed only five earned runs in 20.1 innings. … The Chihuahuas bullpen held the Grizzlies to one run, a home run in the top of the ninth, before closer Gerardo Reyes, who pitched most of the year for the Missions, came in and got the final three outs. The hard-throwing righty has worked in three of the four games in the series, striking out five without allowing a hit. … The offensive star of the game was first baseman Brett Nicholas, who has seen time this year at both catcher and first base. On the season Nicholas hit .291/.353/.485 with 16 home runs and 30 doubles. The left-handed hitting Nicholas,30, came over to the Padres organization just before the beginning of the season from the Texas Rangers. In the series he is hitting .400.
The deciding Game 5 will be from Fresno’s Chukchansi Park at 5:05 PST. RHP Walker Lockett will take the mound for El Paso.
Game 3: Missions 9, Corpus Christi Hooks 8
As Marcus reported yesterday, Friday night’s game was suspended in the bottom of the eleventh inning with right fielder Buddy Reed on second base with no outs. When the game resumed on Saturday at noon, shortstop Owen Miller grounded out to second base to move the runner over to third.
Left fielder Josh Naylor came up, with first base open, and hit a grounder to second base which forced the defender to try to make a play at home but it was too late with the speedy Reed racing ahead of the throw.
Jason Jester got the win in relief.
Game 4: Missions 3, Corpus Christ Hooks 1
Key Statistics: SS Owen Miller, 1-4, HR, RBI; 2B Peter Van Gansen 2-2, R, 2B, BB; DH Webster Rivas 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI; LHP Nick Margevicius 7.0 IP 4 H R ER BB 8 K HR; RHP Nick Yardley 0.2 IP BB; LHP Travis Radke 1.1 IP H 2 K
Prospect Watch: Last year Jake Nix made his Triple-A debut in El Paso’s championship series and responded with one of his best performances of the year. This season it was Nick Margevicius’s turn to make a memorable debut in the playoffs. Margevicius, who spent half of the year in Low-A Fort Wayne before a promotion to High-A Lake Elsinore, made his debut with San Antonio and turned in a gem. He held Corpus Christi, which has been the best team in the Texas League this year, to one run and outdueled one of the top prospects in the Astros’ organization, J.B. Bukauskas in an all-Lithuanian match-up (hat-tip to our friend David Marver of Change the Padres) “I think the way he mixed his fastball and curve was the most impressive part of his start,” said Mike Saeger, the Missions’ play-by-play announcer. “He wasn’t afraid to come inside on right-handers, and he did a good job of throwing strikes. He didn’t pitch timidly.” … We profiled the team’s 2017 seventh-round pick earlier in the year for Fox Sports San Diego when he was in Fort Wayne. He is the classic case of a late bloomer; Margevicius was only six-foot-two 180 pounds coming out of high school and is now six-foot-five, 220-pounds.
Owen Miller was the starting shortstop for the Illinois State Cardinals at the beginning of the Missions’ season. Saturday, he had a home run in the fourth inning to tie the game. Drafted in the third round by the Padres this year, he hit .335 for short-season Tri-City and .336 for the TinCaps this year before the big promotion for the playoffs. As David Jay found out when he spoke with him in Pasco, he credits his success to a relaxed approach at the plate. He has an outside shot of being the starting shortstop in Double-A next year for San Diego, which would be an amazing jump.
While Margevicius was the star of the game, Webster Rivas was a close second. Rivas had a two-out RBI double in the seventh inning to put the Missions ahead. Relievers Eric Yardley and Travis Radke came in to hold the lead….Radke was a Midwestern League All-Star who, in the second half, played for all four Padres full-season affiliates. To find out more about him you can read Travis Barnett’s interview with him from Fort Wayne.
The deciding Game 5 will be from Corpus Christi’s Whataburger Field at 2:05 PST. RHP Chris Huffman will take the mound for San Antonio.