CORPUS CHRISTI - Arkansas struck for six fourth-inning runs and Roberto Lopez collected four RBIs as the Travelers thumped Corpus Christi 10-4 Thursday at Whataburger Field before 5,464.
The victors stand 23-23 in Texas League second-half play, 50-66 overall. The Hooks are 29-17 and 66-50. Corpus Christi has dropped five of seven and three straight for the first time since June 3-6. However, second-place San Antonio can’t make up any ground in the South Division standings. The Missions fell to Springfield Thursday in the Alamo City and remain five games behind the Hooks.
Winning pitcher Eddie McKiernan (4-3), who took over for A.J. Schugel after a predetermined one-inning stint, was responsible for three runs, four hits, three walks and four strikeouts.
Travis Witherspoon’s lead-off ground-rule double quickly turned into a 1-0 Arkansas lead. Renny Osuna’s ground out pushed Witherspoon to third and Lopez came through with a sacrifice fly to right.
The Travelers doubled their advantage against Asher Wojciechowski during the second. Angel Castillo drew a one-out walk, advanced to second on a balk and home when Witherspoon dumped a single just inside the right-field line.
The Hooks scratched an inning later. Jacob Goebbert stroked a lead-off double and took third when Adam Bailey bounced out to second. Jay Fernandez picked up the RBI, generating a sac fly to deep center.
Arkansas immediately answered with a fury, sending Wojciechowski to the showers in the process. The Travelers posted six runs via five hits and an error while sending 10 to bat.
Lopez had a two-run single and Casey Haerther and Carlos Ramirez produced run-scoring doubles. Corpus Christi reliever Adalberto Flores was popped for two runs on three hits.
Wojciechowski (1-1), who failed to retire a man in the fourth, finished with three earned runs, five hits, four walks and two strikeouts.
The Hooks pulled to within five at 8-3 in the fifth. Bobby Borchering (walk) moved into scoring position when Goebbert singled and ultimately scored on Bailey’s bouncer to second. Goebbert was balked home by McKiernan. Both runners were aided by a wild pitch
Lopez grabbed a run right back with yard shot No. 12 of 2012, his second in as many nights. Castillo went deep off Flores in the seventh.
Bailey finished with a pair of doubles.
Hooks outfielder George Springer, promoted Thursday from High-A Lancaster, made his Double-A debut. He pinch-hit for right fielder Drew Locke in the eighth and flew out to Osuna at second base.
Springer was the 11th overall pick in last year’s draft after his junior year at Connecticut.
Bobby Doran (3-1) strides to the hill for Corpus Christi Friday at 7:05. His opponent is Mike Piazza (4-3). It’s Texas Lottery Night at Whataburger Field and fans enjoy Friday Fireworks postgame from Bud Light.