Missions drop ball, game

Cedric Hunter

San Antonio, TX: In the final game of a three-game series with the Arkansas Travelers, The Missions offense was producing hits, but it was their defense that cost them the game. Right hander, Simon Castro started the night on the mound for the Missions. Castro came into the game with a 2.44 ERA, retiring the first six batters and earning three strikeouts.

Jeremy Thorne, the pitcher for the Travelers, had a solid start in the first couple innings as well, retiring his first six batters with two strikeouts.

The game took a bad turn for Castro in the top of the fourth. Starting the inning off with two walks, Travelers left fielder Roberto Lopez hit a sacrifice bunt, which put runners on second and third with only one out. Brian Walker, the Travelers designated hitter, slammed a hard grounder that was scooped up by Matt Clark, the Missions first baseman. In what seemed to be an easy out with a throw to Castro running to cover first base, turned into a base hit and an RBI as Castro fumbled the relay from Clark. Carlos Colmenares came in to score the first run for the Travelers. Efren Navarro then hit a hard line drive to right center field which scored Jeremy Moore, making the score 2-0. The inning only got worse for the Missions, as the next batter Kevin Ramos hit a ground ball in the infield scoring Brian Walker and put the Travelers up 3-0.

The Missions offense started to pick up in the bottom of the fifth. Sawyer Carroll, Christian Colonel, and Luis Martinez load the bases for Michael Collins, the Missions catcher. Collins hit a hard grounder to the shortstop, which brought in Carroll for the Missions first run. Jesus Lopez was walked on a 3-2 pitch, which loaded the bases again for Andy Parrino. Parrino hit a sacrifice fly to bring in the second run. Cedric Hunter followed Parrino's RBI with one of his own, tying the game at three runs apiece. The offense continued for the Missions, as Logan Forsythe hit a short blooper into center field scoring Jesus Lopez to give the Missions a 4-3 lead.

"I felt really comfortable at the plate tonight," Hunter said. "We had clutch hitting when we needed it; we just need to finish the job next game."

After the lead was lost for the Travelers, Manager Bobby Magallanes pulled Thorne and brought in Ismael Carmona who closed down the disastrous inning by striking out Clark.

In the top of the sixth, Alexis Lara came on in relief. Lara pitched through the sixth with no trouble, but fell into a jam in the seventh as he allowed Andrew Romine to reach base. Colmenares grounded a pitch up the middle for a base hit. With runners at each corner, Lara notched a strikeout, but walked Lopez on a 3-2 pitch. Walker once again produces offense by sending a deep line drive to left field, bringing in two runs. A spot on relay from Parrino to Collins caught Lopez striding to home plate to end the frame.

In the bottom of the seventh, Lopez started things off with an infield hit. After sacrifice hits by Parrino and Hunter, Lopez advanced to third. On the next pitch, Forsythe sent a line drive to left field bringing in Lopez to tie the game at 5-5.

In the top of the eighth, Missions manager Doug Dascenzo decides to close out the game with Evan Scribner, a right hander with a 2.36 ERA. Scribner allowed a line drive single to Navarro who stole second and moved to third on a missed catch from Lopez. Kevin Ramos was able to pop a pitch up to center field, enabling Navarro to score the leading run. In the bottom of the eighth, the Missions offense failed to ignite.

Scribner retired the first two batters in the ninth, which brought Jeremy Moore to the plate. After a wild pitch that was dangerously close to Moore's head, Scribner tossed a second pitch that almost hits Jeremy Moore in the helmet. Umpire Jimmy Volpi promptly ejected Scribner, which caused an argument to break out between Moore and Scribner, which then escalated between other players. After both teams are separated and settled down, Nathan Culp closed out the inning, striking out Jeremy Moore.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Missions have no answer for the Travelers pitcher Robert Fish, pushing them one game below .500, once again. The Missions ended the night with five runs, nine hits, and three errors.

"It's hard to win games with so many errors," said Dascenzo. "Were swinging the bat well and producing offense, but when you play defense as bad as we did tonight it doesn't give us a good chance to win."

The Missions win the series 2-1 against the Travelers and look to improve their record with a home series against the (28-25) Springfield Cardinals June 5-7, 2010.

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