The Frisco RoughRiders clinched the Texas League South Division Championship Series with a 5-2 win over the San Antonio Missions on Thursday night.
The RoughRiders now advance to the Texas League Championship Series, which will start on Sunday in Frisco. The RoughRiders will face either Tulsa or Wichita.
Frisco, featuring some of the top prospects in the Rangers organization, is making its first postseason trip since 2014.
Frisco took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning and starter Cody Bradford threw six strong innings to put the RoughRiders in control throughout the game.
Bradford gave up just two hits and struck out nine before turning it over to the bullpen, which included an inning from Owen White, who just came off the injured list.
The Frisco hitters brought the power. Aaron Zavala, who recently received an invitation to play in Arizona Fall League, hit a home run for the second straight playoff game. His two-run home run in the top of the first scored Evan Carter to give Frisco a 2-0 lead. Carter was recently named Baseball America’s Texas Rangers Minor League Player of the Year.
After that, David Garcia hit a solo homer in the top of the third. Then Trevor Hauver — the remaining piece of the Joey Gallo trade that hasn’t reached the Majors yet — walked home a run in the fourth and added a run-scoring single in the eighth.
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Texas led momentarily late before another collapse on the road.
The Missions did score two runs in the ninth inning, but the RoughRiders were able to get out of the jam.
The RoughRiders won the first game 7-3 at Riders Field on Tuesday night.
MLB.com Top 30 Rangers prospects on the Frisco roster include pitcher Jack Leiter (No. 2), Carter (No. 3), White (No. 4), second baseman Justin Foscue (No. 5), infielder Luisangel Acuña (No. 7), outfielder Dustin Harris (No. 9), Zavala (No. 11), pitcher Antoine Kelly (No. 14), pitcher Ricky Vanasco (No. 17), infielder Thomas Saggese (No. 20), infielder Jonathan Ornelas (No. 22), pitcher Avery Weems (No. 24) and pitcher Marc Church (No. 30).
Acuña, Carter and Saggese were only recently promoted to Frisco from High Class-A Hickory.
Several RoughRiders were announced as part of the Arizona Fall League rosters on Friday. So once they’re done with the Texas League postseason, they’ll head to the Rangers’ spring training facility in Surprise, Ariz., to begin play there. Those players include Acuña and Zavala, along with Hauver, pitcher Nick Starr and pitcher Grant Wolfram.
Also on the AFL list are first-round pick and pitcher Kumar Rocker.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard