Barret Loux filled the bill, just as he'd done so many times during the regular season.
The Rangers' No. 18 prospect took a no-hitter into the sixth and ended up allowing a run on two hits over 6 1/3 innings Friday as the RoughRiders stayed alive in the best-of-5 Championship Series with a 5-1 win over Springfield.
Loux (1-0) was working on nine days' rest after pitching Game 1 of the semifinals against Corpus Christi. He attributed much of his success on Friday to the long layoff.
"I threw last Wednesday, so instead of four days [of rest] I had [nine]," said the 23-year-old right-hander, who walked three and struck out eight. "That was probably the best I've felt in a while, really fun. My stuff was better than it normally is, probably due to the rest. I was able to get ground balls, and the defense made some incredible plays behind me, so I'm definitely happy."
Loux, who gave up three runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings in his first-round start, lowered his postseason ERA to 3.00. He led the league with 14 wins and ranked sixth with a 3.47 ERA during the regular season.
With the final three games of the series in Frisco, Loux said he knew he had to turn in an especially strong start if the RoughRiders had any chance of turning things around.
"I didn't feel too much pressure, I was pretty relaxed before the game," he said. "I had to keep the score low because their starter was throwing well, focus on just making each pitch. And it worked out well."
Tim Murphy recorded the final two outs in the seventh and Rangers' No. 6 prospect Wilmer Font struck out five over two perfect innings to close things out.
"We knew we had the ability to come here and win," Loux said. "Like they said earlier in the broadcast up on the radio, when we went to their place this season they swept us; and when they came here, we swept them, so we knew we had a chance. Just gotta go out there and play and we'll see what happens."
Rangers' No. 20 prospect Leury Garcia went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored to lead Frisco's offense, while Ryan Strausborger, Jared Hoying and Jose Felix all went 2-for-3.
Cardinals' top prospect Oscar Taveras drove in Springfield's lone run with a sixth-inning double.