Stymied through seven innings, Double-A Frisco still managed to save the best for last.
The RoughRiders rallied from deficits in the eighth and ninth innings before scoring four times in the 10th en route to a 7-5 championship-clinching win over Wichita at Riverfront Stadium.
Evan Carter's two-run single in the 10th proved to be the decisive knock for the Frisco, which completed a two-game sweep of the best-of-3 series to claim its second Texas League title and first since 2004, the franchise's second year of existence.
Trailing by two runs from the opening frame and held to three singles over the first seven innings, the RoughRiders broke through in the eighth with clutch hitting and some good fortune. Kellen Strahm doubled to plate No. 7 Rangers prospect Luisangel Acuna to cut the deficit to one run and took third on a throwing error by Wichita catcher Jair Camargo. The error proved costly when Trevor Hauver evened the score with a sacrifice fly. Full story »
RoughRiders 11, Wind Surge 3
Justin Foscue got Frisco off to a strong start out of the gates in the Texas League Championship Series. Scott Kapers made sure his team won by a furlong.
Foscue's three RBIs in the early innings and Kapers' two home runs -- including a grand slam -- secured a commanding RoughRiders win over Wichita in the Finals opener. The best-of-3 series shifts to Kansas with Frisco a win away from its first championship since 2004.
Foscue, the Rangers' No. 5 prospect, drove in a run with a single to left field in the first inning and tacked on two more with a two-RBI knock in the second. Jonathan Ornelas, Texas' No. 22 prospect, went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI, and Thomas Saggese doubled in a run to stake the RoughRiders to a 5-0 lead after two innings.
That's when Kapers took over. The 25-year-old backstop, batting ninth, crushed the first pitch he saw from Blayne Enlow to left in the fifth, returning the lead to five after Wichita's Yunior Severino homered in the fourth.
In the sixth, Kapers cleared the bases with one swing to deep left-center to make it an 11-1 game. The 2018 17th-round Draft pick hit just four home runs in three professional seasons before belting 11 between Frisco and High-A Hickory this year. He ended the regular season with three long balls in eight September games before his postseason outburst.
RBIs from Jair Camargo and Severino in the eighth cut into Wichita's deficit but it wasn't nearly enough. The Wind Surge dipped into their bullpen for six relievers after starter Kody Funderburk allowed five runs in 1 1/3 innings. On the other side, Frisco starter Mason Englert, the Rangers' No. 30 prospect, allowed one run on three hits and three walks while fanning three over 5 1/3 frames. Box score »
Wind Surge 11, Drillers 1
Using a gale-like force of offense, the Wind Surge have blown into the Texas League Finals.
Jair Camargo slugged a pair of two-run homers and drove in five runs to lead Double-A Wichita past Tulsa, 11-1, at ONEOK Field on Thursday night. The Wind Surge completed a sweep of the best-of-3 series, outscoring the Drillers 28-2 and homering eight times in two games.
Camargo's power set the tone early for Wichita, which led from the opening frame and never looked back. The 23-year-old backstop, who went deep a career-high 18 times during the regular season, left the yard in each of his first two at-bats and added an RBI single during a four-run fifth which turned a 4-1 lead into an 8-1 bulge.
DaShawn Keirsey Jr. and Leobaldo Cabrera also went deep for the Wind Surge, which didn't trail in the series. Cody Laweryson struck out three over three hitless innings of relief to pick up the win for Wichita.
Dodgers' No. 5 prospect Andy Pages produced the only run for Tulsa with a sacrifice fly in the first. Box score »
RoughRiders 5, Missions 2
Backed by six brilliant innings from Cody Bradford, the RoughRiders are back in the Texas League Championship Series for the first time in a decade.
Double-A Frisco scored in the opening frame and rode its starter to a 5-2 win and semifinals sweep of San Antonio at Nelson Wolff Stadium. Rangers 11th-ranked prospect Aaron Zavala homered and reached base four times for the RoughRiders, who are looking for their first championship since 2004.
On the strength of Zavala's first-inning roundtripper and single runs in the third and fourth, Bradford had more than enough offense to settle in. The 24-year-old allowed two hits, did not walk anyone and retired 14 of 15 to end his outing.
Yorman Rodriguez hit a two-run homer in the ninth for San Antonio. Box score »
RoughRiders 7, Missions 3
Down early, 3-0, Double-A Frisco rallied for seven unanswered runs en route to a victory in Game 1 of the best-of-3 Texas League semifinals at Riders Field.
The big knock came from Rangers' 11th-ranked prospect Aaron Zavala, who mashed a leadoff home run to right-center field in the eighth that gave the RoughRiders the lead for good.
Frisco's rally began with a three-run frame in the fifth that was capped by a game-tying RBI single by third-ranked prospect Evan Carter. No. 22 prospect Jonathan Ornelas drove in Frisco's final two runs to pad the lead with a two-out base knock to center in the eighth.
The Missions chased Frisco starter Jack Leiter from the game after 3 1/3 innings. Webster Rivas and Connor Hollis accounted for San Antonio's offense, with Rivas opening the scoring in the game with an RBI single in the first and Hollis driving in a pair with a ground ball up the middle in the fourth. Box score »
Wind Surge 17, Drillers 1
Wichita erupted for 17 runs on 14 hits, including four home runs, en route to a dominating win in Game 1 of the best-of-3 semifinals.
The Wind Surge offense was led by DaShawn Keirseyand Anthony Prato, who each clubbed a three-run jack on four-RBI nights.
Top Twins prospect Brooks Lee notched three hits, including a double, and finished with three runs scored and a pair of RBIs. Austin Martin (No. 12) and Edouard Julien (No. 14) also left the yard for the Wind Surge. Martin crushed a solo shot in the seventh and Julien belted a three-run shot in the fifth.
Justin Yurchak drove in the Drillers' run in the fifth. After Leonel Valera reached on a fielder's choice and advanced to second on a passed ball with two outs in the frame, Yurchak sent a ground ball through the right side of the infield to break up the shutout. Box score »
How they got there
Frisco entered the final weekend of the Double-A season in a tight race with Midland and Amarillo. But before any tiebreakers had to be calculated, the RoughRiders came out swinging, topping Northwest Arkansas, 11-6, en route to the South Division second-half title.
Rangers No. 5 prospect Justin Foscue provided the power with a homer and a double as part of a four-RBI night. Third-ranked Evan Carter reached base four times and scored thrice to help key the victory.
Just before the win, Midland knocked themselves out of contention with a loss to Wichita, while Amarillo posted a 7-0 blanking of San Antonio that was too late.
The RoughRiders fittingly totaled five doubles on Friday, bringing their league-leading total to 122 in the second half. Boasting the Rangers’ top two pitching prospects in Jack Leiter and Owen White, the Double-A affiliate ranked second in the circuit with a 4.54 ERA since the halfway mark. Gameday box score
Wichita Wind Surge
It was a nail-biter, but in the end, Double-A Wichita came away with a hard-earned 3-1 victory over Midland to claim the North Division second-half title, setting up a tilt with Tulsa to decide who will play in the Texas League Championship Series.
Five Wichita pitchers combined to hold the RockHounds to one run despite the offense being outhit, 10 to eight. Third baseman Yunior Severino was the sole provider of offense for the Twins’ Double-A affiliate, smacking a two-run homer on the first pitch he saw in the opening frame and a solo jack on a full count in the fourth.
Midland threatened to tie in the eighth when a walk, an RBI single by Tyler Soderstrom and a ground-rule double by Logan Davidson cut the lead to two and put runners on second and third with one out. Right-hander Osiris German came in and ended the threat on just four pitches.
After going just 35-33 in the first half, the Wind Surge completely flipped the script in the second half, recording a blistering 43-26 record to put them at 78-59 on the season. Gameday box score
San Antonio Missions
Double-A San Antonio is heading to the postseason for the first time since 2018 after its 11-2 win over Wichita at Riverfront Stadium. Every Missions batter reached base and seven starters notched multihit efforts as part of a 19-hit performance. No. 17 Padres prospect Reggie Lawson and Brandon Komer limited the Wind Surge to two runs on seven hits.
San Antonio has had a steady presence on both sides of the ball all season. The pitching staff is third in the league with a 4.71 ERA, third with a 1.43 WHIP and has allowed the third-fewest homers (66) on the Texas League circuit. The offense is second in hitting (.274), fifth in OPS (.783) and lead the league with 107 stolen bases. San Antonio is the second Padres affiliate to clinch a first-half title, joining Single-A Lake Elsinore, which clinched on Tuesday. Gameday box score
After starting the month of June by losing six of its first nine and dealing with two games being canceled due to COVID concerns, Double-A Tulsa stormed back to win eight of its next 10 to clinch the first-half championship with a 4-1 win over Midland at Momentum Bank Ballpark. Five Drillers combined to strike out 16 while allowing just one run on six hits and four walks.
Tulsa’s pitching staff has been solid all season, posting 624 strikeouts (ranked second in the league), a 1.37 WHIP (second) and a 4.79 ERA (fourth) while walking the third-fewest batters (261) and allowing the second-fewest hits (488). The Dodgers affiliate's offense has held its own too, ranking third in OPS (.790) and slugging (.446) while topping the circuit in home runs with 93. Gameday box score