LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Missions salvaged their three-game series with Arkansas by getting a much-needed offensive boost to register a 7-6 victory Tuesday night.
The Missions, who went 3-3 on the trip, return home to begin a three-game series with Northwest Arkansas Thursday.
Despite the win, the Missions remained three games behind Texas League South Division second-half leader Corpus Christi but moved within two of second-place Frisco.
The Missions’ bats were alive and productive. They collected 12 hits and benefitted from the longball, especially Josh Naylor, who smacked two of San Antonio’s three home runs.
Arkansas caused problems with its bat work as well, but late relief heroics from Lake Bachar (1-4), who gutted out the final five innings by giving up five hits and two runs with seven strikeouts, enabled the Missions to hang for the win.
For the first time during the series with Arkansas, the Missions got the lead with four runs in the first.
Naylor belted a one-out solo homer to put San Antonio on the board. Nick Schulz, who came into the contest batting .033, unleashed a three-run shot after singles by Ty France, who went 4 for 5, and Kyle Overstreet.
After giving up a run in the bottom of the inning, the Missions rebuilt their four-run cushion when France doubled and scored on Overstreet’s single.
The Travs’ bats came through in the clutch once again, erupting for three runs with two outs in the fourth to pull within 5-4.
Logan Taylor began the inning with a single. He stole second, but the leadoff hit appeared to be harmless after Missions starter Miguel Diaz got two groundouts. That’s when the Travelers did their best work.
That spelled the end for Diaz’s night. Cobly Blueberg, who joined the Missions from Single-A Lake Elsinore after reliever Erik Johnson was called up to Triple-A El Paso, came on to get the final out.
Arkansas, winners of the first half Texas League North Division title and leading the pack in the second round, were knocking on the Missions’ door the next two innings, but this time Bachar prevented the Travelers from reaching home with the tying or go-ahead runs.
Bachar continued to be the Missions’ salvation.
Naylor added his second homer when he followed Fernando Tatis Jr.’s double with a two-run shot in the ninth.
That proved to valuable insurance for San Antonio.
In the bottom of the inning, Filia singled and Joseph Odom ripped a two-run homer to bring the Travelers with a run.