Right fielder Sam Carter then put a giant cherry on top of the sundae with a home run to center that was last seen heading for Oklahoma to put the contest out of reach in the eighth.
Carter who came into the game hitting .125, also made two outstanding defensive plays in right. In the third inning he made a running catch into the right field bleachers and then in the seventh it was another running catch on a sinking liner which prevented a RockHounds from scoring.
Although the catches for Carter were big, it was the three run home run to dead center off of the batter’s eye which he will remember.
“You always remember your first one, so it was probably that, but the catches were nice too,” said Carter. “They had been trying to come in on me a bit, so I was just looking to extend my arms some.”
Designated hitter Luis Durango opened the scoring by leading off the game with a line drive to right followed by a triple to right-center by second baseman Eric Sogard. Left fielder Mike Baxter added to him his team high 14 RBI’s by driving in Sogard. First baseman Craig Cooper, who going into the game was leading the Texas League in hits, then singled to right. A ground out to second by Cedric Hunter moved the runners to second and third. Catcher Michael Collins singled in Baxter for his first RBI of the season. Third baseman Keoni Ruth’s force out to the third baseman brought home Cooper to end the scoring.
Sam Carter followed Ruth with a hard shot to right-center, but Collins was thrown out at the plate trying to score from second, despite depositing the catcher several feet behind the plate in a bulldozer slide.
Starter Ernesto Frieri had his best outing of the season, throwing five solid innings allowing only on run and striking out three.
“It was really helpful having the big lead. It gave me some confidence, just helped me challenge hitters and keep the ball down,” said Frieri.
Madfriars.com 2008 pitcher of the year Mike DeMark then came in and delivered two scoreless innings. DeMark who has struggled slightly to begin the season was happy to get back on course.
“It definitely gave me some confidence. Me and Webby have been working on getting me back on track. Whatever happened on the flight from Arizona messed me up a little and now things are starting to get back to normal,” said DeMark.
Rockhounds right fielder Matt Sulentic tapped on an additional run in the eighth for the with a massive home run to right field. Center fielder Corey Wimberly walked, stole second, advanced to third on a ground out and was able to take home on a wild pitch by reliever Brandon Gomes. Gomes rebounded by striking out A’s uber prospect Chris Carter to end the threat.
The Missions’ Carter then put the game out of reach with his massive three run home over the center field wall.
Missions’ closer Evan Scribner closed the game out with two strikeouts in the ninth for his third save of the season.
San Antonio was helped not only by big plays in the outfield by Carter, but an overall strong defensive effort by the team, particularly shortstop Jesus Lopez.
“It all started with the pitching. When you’re pitching does you start to feel the momentum building and it gives you confidence,” said Missions’ manager Terry Kennedy.
“When you get that big inning I really want that zero on them in the next half; and Ernesto got it for us.”