On a rainy night in Midland in which Game 4 of the Texas League Championship Series was delayed for a little over three hours, the RockHounds earned the first three-peat in the Texas League in 91 years, beating NW Arkansas, 4-1 in Game 4 (and 3-1 in the series).
Naturals starter Glenn Sparkman struck out the side in the first (around a single and a walk), but couldn’t keep Midland off the scoreboard in the 2nd inning.
Sparkman allowed a leadoff home run and then a single, but he was saved by Logan Moon in right field, as the base runner got greedy trying to stretch it into a double. After a ground out, it looked like Sparkman was going to escape with just that one run allowed.
Instead, the RockHounds had other ideas. Two straight doubles and an RBI single later, they led 3-0 and never looked back.
Sparkman lasted just two innings, with the Naturals bullpen quartet of Tim Hill, Evan Beal, Eric Stout, and Mark Peterson allowing just a run on five hits and three walks over the final six innings. Beal struck out three in 1.1 innings, giving him nine in three postseason games (5.1 scoreless innings). Stout struck out two in 2/3 of an inning, giving him five in three scoreless innings of relief (three games). Peterson also held opponents scoreless, but in four games (seven strikeouts in 6.1 innings).
The Naturals were held to just three hits, all singles. The first came with two outs in the fifth (Cam Gallagher). Corey Toups singled in the sixth (but was picked off) and Ryan O’Hearn singled to lead off the 7th inning and after two walks to load the bases with no outs, O’Hearn came around to score on a double play.
The offensive shortage in the TLCS came after they exploded for 31 runs in the four game Division Series against Springfield. The Naturals were held to nine runs and ten extra base hits (one homer) in the four games by Midland pitching, while allowing 19 runs.