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Midland wins Divisional Round series, Nashville heading to Game 5

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The Triple-A Nashville Sounds and the Double-A Midland RockHounds each played Game 4 of their respective Divisional Round playoff series on Saturday, with opposite results. Midland won to seal their series and move on to the Championship Round, but Nashville lost to send theirs to a deciding Game 5.

Here’s a closer look at each series.

Nashville Sounds vs. Oklahoma City Dodgers

League: Triple-A Pacific Coast League

Best-of-5 Divisional Series

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Sounds 10, Dodgers 7 (recap)
Game 2: Dodgers 5, Sounds 2 (recap)
Game 3: Sounds 6, Dodgers 5 (recap)
Game 4: Dodgers 7, Sounds 1 (box score)
Game 5: Sun 9/11, 4:35 p.m., at Nashville

The Sounds didn’t put up much of a fight in this one. Each team scored a run in the 1st, but Nashville stayed silent for the rest of the evening while OKC continued adding on throughout. Sounds starter Donn Roach was shaky, the bullpen was even worse, and the lineup behind them was limited to six hits. Ho hum.

Jaycob Brugman and Franklin Barreto singled in the 1st to extend their postseason hitting streaks, and Brugman scored on a GIDP for Nashville’s only run of the game. After that there was only one more inning in which they put multiple runners on base at the same time. They just never got anything going, and utilityman Josh Rodriguez (3-for-3) was the only guy making any noise. Matt Chapman lined a double for his first hit of the series, but he also committed a fielding error in the 1st that led to the first run of the game.

The pitching didn’t go any better. Roach walked the first two batters of the game, then found the zone and began giving up hard contact instead. Still, he only allowed two runs (one earned) through five frames, and the real dagger was served up by reliever Aaron Kurcz in the form of a three-run homer. Carlos Navas chipped in a couple scoreless innings, but by then the damage had been done.

The Sounds now face a winner-take-all Game 5 at their home park. Here are the numbers from the top prospects on Saturday:

Matt Chapman, 3B: 1-for-3, 2B, 2 Ks
Jaycob Brugman, OF: 1-for-4, run
Franklin Barreto, SS: 1-for-4, 3 Ks
Matt Olson, 1B: 0-for-4, K
Renato Nunez, DH: 0-for-4, 2 Ks

Carlos Navas, RHP: 2 ip, 0 runs, 0 K, 1 BB

Game 5 features a pitching matchup of Nashville righty Chris Jensen against OKC righty Lisalverto Bonilla.

Link to Sunday box score

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Midland RockHounds vs. Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros)

League: Double-A Texas League

Best-of-5 Divisional Series

RockHounds win series 3-1

Game 1: RockHounds 6, Hooks 2 (recap)
Game 2: Hooks 5, RockHounds 4 (recap)
Game 3: RockHounds 7, Hooks 5 (recap)
Game 4: RockHounds 5, Hooks 2 (box score)

The RockHounds’ game was about as ho-hum as Nashville’s, but they were on the winning side of it. Midland took an early lead, starter Brandon Mann pitched scoreless ball into the 7th, and the Hounds cruised to a relatively easy victory after a couple of roller coaster games the previous two days.

Midland’s lineup put together two big rallies, and Tyler Marincov was in the middle of both. He walked to lead off the 2nd and scored on a Yairo Munoz double, and in the 5th he doubled in a run and then scored on a groundout. Munoz and J.P. Sportman also had big days with three hits apiece, and both were big parts of the three-run 2nd inning.

Mann isn’t a prospect at 32 years of age, but the lefty sure had a day to remember on Saturday. He shut down the Hooks for 6⅓ innings, 6 K, 2 BB, 4 hits, 99 pitches. The bullpen was a bit shaky, and Jake Sanchez allowed the go-ahead run to come to the plate with two outs in the 9th, but Mann’s excellent effort proved to be too much for Corpus Christi to come back from.

The Hounds now move on to the Texas League Championship Series, where they will face the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Royals). Midland beat NW Arkansas last year in the finals, just as they beat Corpus Christi last year in the Divisional Round, so this postseason has been a big case of deja vu in terms of matchups. Hopefully the deja vu continues to extend to the results as well!

Here’s how the top prospects did on Saturday:

Yairo Munoz, 3B: 3-for-4, 2B, RBI, run
J.P. Sportman, OF: 3-for-4, 2B, RBI
Tyler Marincov, OF: 1-for-3, 2B, BB, RBI, 2 runs
Max Schrock, 2B: 0-for-4, K
Richie Martin, SS: 0-for-2, RBI

Trey Cochran-Gill, RHP: 1⅔ ip, 1 run, 1 K, 2 hits

Game 1 against Northwest Arkansas is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 13. The format from the Hounds’ perspective goes road, road, off, home, home, home.