Sugar Land Space Cowboys 7, Chihuahuas 1
Key Statistics: DH Yorman Rodriguez, 1-for-3, 2B; 1B Carlos Luis, 1-for-4, 2B, RBI; LF Taylor Kohlwey, 2-for-4, R, SB (14); RHP Anderson Espinoza (L, 7-8) 6 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K; LHP Jared Koenig, IP, 5 H, 3 ER, K; RHP Sean Reynolds, IP, K
Prospect Watch: El Paso hit the road for their final series of the year and lost to Sugar Land. … At the plate, Taylor Kohlwey was the only Chihuahua to produce a multi-hit game, as the left fielder delivered a pair of singles in the loss. The left-handed hitting outfielder has had a decent season in 2023, his fourth at the Triple-A level. He also saw five games of duty at the big league level, notching a pair of hits for the Padres. Coming into Tuesday’s action, Kohlwey carried a wRC+ of 106 at the Triple-A level. … Carlos Luis made his Triple-A debut and he went 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI. The 24-year-old infielder broke out last year with the Storm but had an underwhelming season with the TinCaps, delivering offense nine percent below league average. Luis has displayed immense power in batting practice but has yet to show it in games consistently. He did hit a career-high seven homers this year. He is on track for minor league free agency this year. He was one one three players who spent the majority of the season at Single-A or lower in the lineup for El Paso Tuesday. … In perhaps his swansong as a Padres farmhand, Anderson Espinoza pitched well but took the loss anyway. He was rolling through six innings, but things fell apart in the seventh before he gave way to the bullpen. Espinoza allowed four runs (three earned) in six-plus innings. He gave up three hits, walked two, and struck out three. Espinoza, who returned to the organization as a free agent last winter, will be on the open market again this winter. … After a string of nightmare outings, organizational newcomer Sean Reynolds appears to be figuring things out. The 25-year-old had his second consecutive scoreless outing, notching a strikeout. Over his last four outings, Reynolds has allowed just one run. In 15 innings overall with El Paso, Reynolds has a 15.43 ERA.
Roster Moves: The Chihuahuas made several roster moves going into the season’s final series. Infielders Ray-Patrick Didder and Jantzen Witte were placed on the temporarily inactive list. In addition, infielder Nik McClaughry was sent back to the Storm roster. Infielder Jarryd Dale and utility man Lucas Dunn were moved up from Fort Wayne along with Luis for the final series.
Missions 12, Amarillo Sod Poodles 11, 10 innings (Missions lead best-of-three series, 1-0)
Key Statistics: 2B Marcos Castañon, 2-for-6, 2 R, 2B, HR (1), 3 RBI; 3B Graham Pauley, 2-for-6, 2 R; 1B Nathan Martorella, 3-for-5, 2 R, 2 HR (1, 2), 4 RBI; RF Cole Cummings, 1-for-4, R, HR (1), RBI; CF Homer Bush Jr., 2-for-3, 3 R, HR (1), 2 RBI; SS Connor Hollis, 2-for-5, R, RBI; LHP Robby Snelling, 4 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K; RHP Efrain Contreras (W, 1-0) 1.1 IP, H, 3 R, 2 ER, BB, 3 K
Prospect Watch: The Missions opened the playoffs with one of the year’s most exciting games. After seeing an early lead disappear, the Missions pulled ahead again in the eighth, and lost the advantage in the bottom of the ninth. They seemingly put the game away with five in the top of the tenth before the Sod Poodles rallied to score four more. The Missions were finally able to thwart the rally and escape with a one-run win in the Panhandle. The Missions will have two chances to close the series out at home, beginning Thursday night. … Marcos Castañon had the game’s big hit, slamming a three-run homer to left in the tenth inning to give the Missions a five-run cushion. The 24-year-old infielder finished his second professional season with a solid .802 OPS in September. … First baseman Nathan Martorella connected on two of the Missions’ five homers in the victory. The 22-year-old slugger struggled down the stretch for the Missions, but he was a consistent power threat for the TinCaps this season. Martorella connected on 19 homers between Fort Wayne and San Antonio in his first full pro campaign. … A few weeks ago, center fielder Homer Bush Jr. was a surprise addition to the Missions’ roster, but this year’s fourth-round draft pick has held his own at the advanced level. Bush opened the playoffs with a pair of hits, including a homer. He also swiped a base and scored three runs. The 21-year-old went 12-for-28 in eight games with the Missions down the stretch. Bush has impressed with his performance since joining the organization, perhaps accelerating the Padres’ timeline for him heading into the 2024 season. … Lefty Robby Snelling made the start and navigated the hitter-friendly conditions of Amarillo as well as one could expect. Snelling completed four innings and allowed three runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out four. It was just the third time in 23 starts this year he gave up three runs. He allowed a pair of homers in a game in which the two teams combined to hit ten homers. Snelling, Graham Pauley, and Ethan Salas were named as California League postseason all-star roster earlier in the day.
Roster Moves: The Missions made many roster moves before Tuesday’s playoff game. Top prospect Jackson Merrill, who continues to deal with a hamstring issue, was placed on the development list, effectively ending his season. Pitchers Seth Mayberry and Henry Henry were also placed on the development list. Korry Howell was activated from the development list and placed on the active roster. He played a pivotal role in Tuesday’s game by making an incredible leaping catch on the warning track in the tenth inning that robbed Amarillo of extra bases. Lefty Austin Krob and righty Carter Loewen were promoted from Fort Wayne to give the Missions’ pitching staff a few reinforcements.