The RockHounds opened their first home stand of the Texas League's second half pennant race with a 15-21 record at Citibank Ballpark. One of the components of the under-500 mark has been an inability to come through with clutch hits with men on base. With one swing Thursday night, Conner Crumbliss did his best to remedy that situation, drilling a two-run double into the left field corner in the bottom of the eighth inning, scoring David Freitas and Darwin Perez. The clutch swing broke a 2-2 tie and gave the RockHounds a 4-2 win in the opener of a four-game series with the Missions.
Crumbliss, who finished 2-for-4 with two doubles, a run, walk and two RBI, also scored the game-tying run (2-2) in the fifth, leading off with a double and scoring on a double by Vinnie Catricala. Both clubs had scoring chances well beyond the 4-2 final, but the game stayed tied at 2-2 until Conner's double in the last of the eighth (on which, it should be noted, Perez absolutely flew around the bases, scoring from first).
While the RockHounds committed three errors in the game, good defense was also a major factor for both teams. San Antonio center fielder Rico Noel made a run-saving catch in the last of the first, an over-the-shoulder grab in deep center, robbing Catricala of extra bases. Vinnie returned the favor, making a terrific catch on line drive down the line at third off the bat of Adam Buschini with one on and one out in the ninth. Dusty Coleman also had a "Web Gem" caliber play, making a fully horizontal, diving catch on a flair to shallow right field with a runner at second and no outs in the fourth inning. Coleman not only robbed Rocky Gale of a hit with the midair grab, he then popped back up and threw behind base runner Everett Williams, doubling him off second base.
Kibbles & Bits
- Anthony Aliotti sat out for the third consecutive game due to a bruised right knee sustained when he fouled a ball off the knee in Monday night's game. He had played in each of the RockHounds' first 70 games (the entire first half of the season), collecting a remarkable 96 hits (entering Wednesday's games, no other Texas League hitter had more than 78) and leading the league (by 30+ points) with a .364 average.
- Jake Goebbert drove in the game's first run, his 55th RBI of the season and his 10th in the last five games. Jake entered the game having taken over the Texas League lead in RBI.
- The "prodigal Mission:" Mike De Mark, who pitched for San Antonio in 2009 and 2010, earned his third save of the year despite getting a tough break in the ninth inning. An apparent foul ball on a pop-up down the right field line was deemed fair, with Rocky Gale getting a double on the play to lead off the ninth. De Mark got Chris Bisson to ground out to first base, followed by Vinnie Catricala's run-saving catch on the laser to third. DeMark then struck out Rico Noel to end the game.
- The RockHounds are at home through Sunday, hosting the San Antonio Missions. Friday is Electronics Giveaway Night (sponsored by Best Buy) … Saturday features a post-game fireworks show (first pitch both evenings at seven o'clock) and Sunday is the final afternoon game until the season-ending Labor Day weekend (first pitch at 4:00).
WP Frank Gailey (1-0, 1.65)
LP Jeremy McBryde (1-3, 2.43)
SV Mike DeMark (3, 4.15)
vs. San Antonio Missions (San Diego Padres' AA Affiliate)
Friday, June 21 7:00 p.m. Radio at 6:55 p.m.
San Antonio (RH) Donn Roach (4-6, 4.40)
RockHounds (RH) Sean Murphy (4-2, 4.99)