The Chihuahuas walk off with another win, San Antonio ends the regular season on a down note while the Storm draw within a game of a Cal League championship.
Chihuahuas 6, Round Rock Express 5 (F/10)
Key Stats: 2B C.J. Hinojosa 2-for-4, HR (16), HBP; CF Thomas Milone 2-for-4, BB; SS Matt Batten 2-for-4, SF; DH Brandon Dixon 1-for-4, SF; RHP Pedro Avila 5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 4 K, 0 BB, 2 HR; RHP Michel Baez 1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 K, 2 BB; RHP Moises Lugo (W, 2-0) 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER)
Prospect Watch: The Chihuahuas rallied to tie in the seventh and ninth then eventually pulled out the victory in the tenth inning to claim their fifth victory in the six-game set with Round Rock. The win sets up a showdown series with the Oklahoma City Dodgers, who remain a game behind El Paso. … Thomas Milone drove in the game-winning run with a two-out single to give the Chihuahuas their tenth walk-off win of the year. The 27-year-old has career highs in RBI, as well as walks and strikeouts in his ninth professional season and first in the Padres system. … El Paso fell behind early as Pedro Avila was tagged for individual runs in each of the first three innings, two on solo homers. The big righty allowed four extra-base hits among the five he gave up, but he made it through five innings for the sixth consecutive outing. Over that stretch, he’s posted a 3.00 ERA with 29 strikeouts against six walks, a much stronger ratio than he carried through the first half of the year. After a rough May, the 25-year-old has kept his ERA under 4.00 over the last four months. Avila dealt with injuries and has been on-and-off the 40-player roster over the last several years. Now fully recovered, he has topped 100 innings for the first time since 2018. The Padres will need to decide whether to add him back to the 40-player or lose him to minor league free agency this winter. … C.J. Hinojosa got the Chihuahuas on the board with his career-best 16th homer of the year, then drove in the tying run with a single in the 10th inning. The 28-year-old, who was a fan favorite during his years at the University of Texas, signed as a minor league free agent after putting up league-average offense in the system of his hometown Astros last season. Despite the higher home run total this season, his overall production is almost identical while playing solid defense around the infield. … Brandon Dixon singled to extend his hitting streak to 19 games.
Amarillo Sod Poodles 5, Missions 2
Key Stats: RF Ethan Skender 3-for-5, 2B, SB (5); 2B Ripken Reyes 2-for-3, 3B, HBP; LHP Noel Vela 4 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 K, 2 BB; LHP Osvaldo Hernandez 1 IP, 1 H; RHP Seth Mayberry 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER
Prospect Watch: The Missions managed only two ninth-inning runs in their regular-season finale, ending the year at .500. Because of a strong first half, the club heads into the Texas League playoffs and will open the first round on the road in Frisco Tuesday. … Noel Vela, who has been working out of the bullpen over the last month after blowing past his previous career high in innings, got the start for San Antonio. The lefty retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced, but with two outs in the third allowed back-to-back doubles and a single to surrender a pair of runs. The 23-year-old bounced back to strike out a pair in a scoreless fourth. After a strong campaign in High-A Fort Wayne, he’s struggled with the Missions, posting a 6.35 ERA while walking 20 in 22.2 innings. He has continued to rack up strikeouts at an impressive rate. In 109.2 innings, the 2017 draftee has whiffed 125 hitters. … Osvaldo Hernandez and Seth Mayberry each worked an inning. The relievers both went on the injured list last week, but were able to return quickly and will likely be counted on in the playoffs. … Connor Hollis had a rare rough day at the plate, going 1-for-5 with four strikeouts, but the 27-year-old still claimed the Texas League batting title with a .333 average on the year. Signed at the end of spring training after he was released by Tampa, the Texas native provided important production all season for the Missions and El Paso.
Storm 13, Fresno Grizzlies 2
Key Stats: CF Jakob Marsee 2-for-4, 2B, HR, BB; SS Jackson Merrill 4-for-5, 3 2B; C Juan Zabala 2-for-5, 2 2B; DH Griffin Doersching 2-for-5, 2B; LHP Jesus Sanchez 4.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 7 K, 1 BB; RHP Will Geerdes 3.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 K
Prospect Watch: The Storm offense fired on all cylinders as they won the first game of the Cal League Championship Series. John Conniff was on-site and has our coverage.