Location: Dr. Pepper Ballpark (Frisco, TX)
Series: Tied 1-1
Starting Pitchers: Carlos Pimentel (0-0 0.00 ERA; 7-9 4.74 ERA regular season w/ Frisco) vs. Casey Kelly (0-0 0.00 ERA; 11-6 3.98 ERA regular season w/ San Antonio)
Season Record vs. San Antonio: 14-20
Frisco Comes Home Tied 1-1: Like Wednesday the storyline on Thursday was the pitching of the Frisco RoughRiders and the San Antonio Missions. Unlike Wednesday, however, it was the Frisco RoughRiders who came home as the victors in the game. A 2 run 4th inning was just what Frisco needed to come back to Dr. Pepper Ballpark and a likely electric crowd tied 1-1 with a chance to seal it in Frisco. The Riders are 7-7 in their last 14 games against the Missions since beginning the season 7-13 against them. With already one win under their belt on the road against the Missions, the momentum has to be with Frisco right now as the team won just 5 games in San Antonio over 16 road games.
Snyder Struggles Early, Recovers Terrifically: Ben Snyder threw 63 pitches over the first 3 innings, but was able to escape a 2 on, 2 out jam in the 1st inning, a bases loaded 2 out jam in the 2nd inning, and a 2 on 2 out jam in the 3rd inning to preserve the shutout through 3 innings. Snyder then settled in and was able to go 6 innings in the start without allowing a run. Snyder gave up 3 hits and 4 walks with 4 strikeouts against a tough, patient San Antonio Misisons lineup.
Middle of the Order Proves Key: I stated it before the series that I thought that the Rider's key to winning the series against San Antonio was the middle of the order and on Thursday they proved that once again. Jonathan Greene went 2 for 4 with a double and a RBI, Tommy Mendonca went 2 for 4 with a double, and Mike Bianucci added a hit and a run in 4 at bats. After going 0 for 9 with 5 strikeouts on Wednesday, they went 5 for 12 with two doubles on Thursday. The trio produced most of the damage from the Frisco RoughRiders in the regular season and will need to continue that the next two or three nights for Frisco to win.
Players to Watch on Friday: It would be nice to see Davis Stoneburner's bat get going. The infielder had a productive season for Frisco in 2011 and when his bat is going strong it makes the Rider's tough to beat... Frisco continues to struggle with RISP as of late. Frisco is just 2 for 12 with RISP in the two games so far after going into a tailspin in such situations since the All-star break... Vincent Belnome hit Frisco very well during the regular season, but is batting just .200 early on in this postseason series. Frisco needs to continue to hold his bat down as he is one of San Antonio's best run producers...It will be interesting to see if San Antonio continues to have Ali Solis catch in Frisco. The Texas League All-star catcher has hit very poorly in Frisco this season despite a pretty decent season overall at the plate.
Pimentel Looks to Continue Productive Starts Lately: Carlos Pimentel doesn't always look like he is going to pitch well out there on the mound, but lately it hasn't really mattered because he has. The 22 year old right hander finished off an up and down season with a spurt of 6 starts where he posted a 1.60 ERA. Over his last two starts against the Missions, Pimentel is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA as he has gone 6 innings in both starts. In fact, Carlos Pimentel has pitched better against the San Antonio Missions than most pitchers could say in 2011. Pimentel has made 7 appearances against San Antonio and is 2-0 with a 2.97 ERA in those appearances. Considering San Antonio has had arguably the best offense in the Texas League from start to finish, that is quite impressive from the right hander.
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- By Michael Damman