Garrison 'off' in Missions loss

SAN ANTONIO, TX-- Steve Garrison, fourth in the Texas League in ERA, was off his game on Sunday while the Missions were victims of their own stadium in a loss to the Midland Rockhounds.

The Missions broke out the bats Sunday in San Antonio, but 13 hits weren't enough as they lost to Midland 9-6 and split the four game series 2-2.

Midland jumped on starter Steve Garrison early, with two Rockhounds reaching on singles before being brought home on a long three-run home run by DH Tommy Everidge.

The Missions responded quickly with much needed two-out hitting from Chad Huffman who lined a double into right field, followed by a triple down the first base line from Kyle Blanks. When Blanks hustled into third, the relay throw got past the third baseman and hit Manager Bill Masse, which prevented Blanks from scoring on the errant throw.

"Bad luck. That hasn't happened to me in a long time. I don't know how the third baseman missed it," said Masse.

Luckily for the home team, Craig Cooper lined a single into right field and scored Blanks anyway to bring the Missions within one.

Garrison's troubles returned in the third when Aaron Cunningham singled and then took second on a wild pitch. Everidge continued to punish Garrison's fastball by tomahawking a shoulder-high fastball into left field and scoring Cunningham. Garrison wasn't helped by his defense when third baseman Seth Johnston booted a grounder that should have gone as his 21st error but was ruled a single by the scorekeeper. Garrison gave up two more runs before finally striking out Jed Morris to end the inning.

Masse‘s explanation for Garrison‘s woes was simple: "Garrison just didn't have it tonight. All his pitches were flat, his fastball had no life on it. He had one pitch working today, and that was his changeup. For the most part, he's had it this year, but it didn't happen tonight."

The sixth inning brought some drama to a 9-3 game as Mike Baxter led off the inning with a double. After a Seth Johnston walk, Jose Lobaton doubled off the wall in right centerfield to bring in Baxter and put Johnston at third. Gabe Lopez and Drew Macias hit back-to-back singles to bring the Missions within three, putting two runners on for the 3-4 hitters in the lineup.

Huffman took the second pitch he saw for a long ride out to left center that would have been a home run in any other Texas League ballpark, but ended up in the glove of the centerfielder at the wall.

"I hit the ball really well. I've hit a lot of balls this year that I felt should have gone out but didn't," said Huffman. "In this park, you never think it's gone right away. It's deep, humid, and the wind blows in."

Wolff Stadium struck again when the next batter, Blanks, stepped to the plate and took a fastball deep into right center, eventually being hauled in at the wall.

Neil Jamison and Jon Ellis continued their effectiveness out of the pen, retiring the sides in order in the 7th and 8th innings, respectively. The Missions never managed another rally, with Baxter ending the game with a weak ground out to second base.

The Missions will travel to Frisco tomorrow for a series against the Rough Riders before returning home for another four-game set against Midland.

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