Fresno Grizzlies 10, Chihuahuas 1
Key Stats: RF Forrestt Allday 1-for-4, 2B, OF Assist; LF Shane Peterson 1-for-3, 2B, BB; 1B Brett Nicholas 1-for-4, 2B; RHP Walker Lockett 3IP, 3H, 3ER, 4K, 1BB
Prospect Watch: El Paso’s attempt to come back from a 2-0 series deficit came up one game short as the Padres’ affiliate fell to Houston’s Triple-A club. The Chihuahuas got on the board first as Shane Peterson walked to open the second and ultimately came around on a single by Raffy Lopez. However, with two men on and one out, El Paso could manage no further damage in the inning, and never pushed another runner across. The team went just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. … El Paso hoped for one last strong outing from Walker Lockett, who was a key contributor in June and July. But after returning from his stint in the big leagues, the big Floridian made just one quality start in six outings and stumbled badly in allowing seven runs in 7.2 innings in the playoff series. Lockett is on the 40-man roster and is eligible to be added to the big league roster. … Kyle Lloyd, Kyle McGrath and TJ Weir all limped through their work on the mound, combining to surrender seven earned runs in four innings. While each delivered important innings at various times this season, they weren’t able to keep it going Sunday evening. … Peterson, a San Diego county native, signed as a minor league free agent last December and posted a .793 OPS for El Paso. At 30 years old, he is likely to join several key Chihuahuas contributors in returning to the open market this winter. Forrestt Allday, Allen Craig and Brett Nicholas all played critical roles in El Paso’s success but could opt to move on.
Missions 8, Corpus Christi Hooks 1
Key Stats: RF Buddy Reed 1-for-3, BB, SB (3), 2R; LF Josh Naylor 2-for-5, R, RBI; 1B Kyle Overstreet 2-for-5, 2R, RBI; RHP Chris Huffman 7IP, 4H, 1ER, 3K, 1BB
Prospect Watch: The Missions completed what has to be among the most improbable comebacks ever. The team dropped the first two games of the series, trailed 8-1 in the fourth inning of game three, and appeared completed dead in the water. Yet somehow, they rallied to win that contest, and they just kept going from there. After being outscored 20-2 through the first 22 innings of the series, they flipped the tables over the final 23 frames, bettering the Hooks by the exact same margin. Sunday, they jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first and never looked back on the way to a surprisingly easy win over Corpus, which dominated the Texas League all year. Chris Huffman delivered a stellar outing. The 25-year-old righty was perfect the first time through the Hooks’ lineup and only allowed three singles through the first six frames. He did ultimately allow a two-out solo homer in the seventh inning, by which time the game was well out of reach. After a strong April, the Virginia native was hit hard for two months in El Paso before returning to San Antonio after the All-Star break. He toiled in the bullpen until August and had made only three starts for the Missions prior to the playoffs. … The Missions had just one extra-base hit – an RBI double by Michael Gettys – but tallied 13 total hits and four walks, and went 5-for-11 with runners in scoring position on the day. Owen Miller, who finished with a single in five trips, was the only Missions batter not to reach base twice. Miller’s hit came after a game-opening walk by Buddy Reed. Kyle Overstreet followed with an RBI single one batter later and then Gabe Rivas came through with a key, two-out, bases-loaded single to plate two more. It was the second straight game the team’s 28-year-old backup catcher delivered a key two-run hit. Getty’s double in the fourth followed by a Reed sacrifice fly made it 5-0. In the seventh, Reed ran his way to another run as he bunted for a single, stole second and advanced to third on a wild throw, then came around on an RBI single by Josh Naylor. The club got two more to ice the game in the ninth with three singles and a walk.
The Missions will travel to Tulsa to open the Texas League championship series on Tuesday. The Dodgers-affiliated Drillers were the most productive offense in the league during the regular season, scoring 25 more runs than second-place Corpus and collecting 208 more total bases than the Missions.