“Its important for the guys to get this type of experience in close games because they are going to be in these types of games a lot more often when they get to the major league level,” said a tired Missions manager Doug Dascenzo after his second straight extra inning contest.
Starting pitcher Simon Castro went seven innings allowing one unearned run on his own error as he failed to to field a throw from second baseman Andy Parrino while covering first base.
It was Castro’s longest outing of the year, allowing only three hits against four strikeouts and three walks.
The Missions continued to struggle scoring runs and were held in check until first baseman Matt Clark greeted RoughRiders relief pitcher Josh Lueke, who was making his Double-A debut, with a solo home run in the seventh inning.
Kulbacki followed with a single, but was thrown out trying to advance to second on a passed ball. This season, the Missions have a dismal stolen base percentage, only being successful 13 times in 29 attempts.
The Missions were able to put together a single and a walk with the next two batters to have runners on first and second with one out, but a pair of strikeouts ended the threat.
Reliever Aaron Poreda came in for eighth and ninth innings, striking out four and walking only one. The problem was his third inning, the 10th, where he opened by walking the first two batters, the last on four straight pitches.
Relief pitcher Alexis Lara came in for Poreda and promptly made an error on a sacrifice attempt to load the bases. As with baserunning, this years Missions team has had problems defensively as evidenced by three errors today to give them 54 in 43 games, second worst in the league.
But with the bases loaded and no outs, Lara turned in one of the better performances by a relief pitcher, striking out the next hitter, getting the second to bounce out to third base for a force at home and induced a ground ball to second to get out of the inning.
“He was phenomenal,” said Dascenzo. “That was the longest he has gone for us all year and really a special performance.”
Lara went on to pitch three more innings with his only trouble coming in the 13th, when he was running on fumes. He gave up a pair of two-out singles before getting the final batter on a great player by him and second baseman Andy Parrino who ranged far to his left to cut off a ball going to the outfield with Lara covering first.
The Missions offense finally caught a few breaks in the bottom half. Switch-hitting shortstop Beamer Weems, batting from the left side, led off the inning with a drag bunt down the first base line, barely beating the shuffle throw from the second baseman.
Parrino then failed to connect on a hit-and-run attempt but Weems was able to beat the high throw by the RoughRiders catcher Eli Sarmiento for a rare Mission’s stolen base. Parrino then sacrificed the Weems to third with one out.
On a 2-2 count, Chalk lifted a short fly to left field, which wasn’t deep enough for Weems to advance, but in the third break of the inning, left fielder Marcus Lemon dropped the ball enabling Weems to race home for the winning run.
“Long games like that are always tough on the body, but it really grinds on you mentally as well,” said Weems. “But it is a hundred percent better than going that long with a loss.”
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