Matt Duffy's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 11th gave Corpus Christi a thrilling 2-1 win over San Antonio in Game One of the Texas League South Division Series Wednesday night at Whataburger Field.
The Missions had a golden opportunity to take an early lead when Rico Noel led off the game with a triple to right field. After Corpus Christi starter Mike Foltynewicz fanned Cory Spangenberg for the first out of the frame, the right-hander got Adam Buschini to fly out to right fielder Domingo Santana. On the play, Noel tried to tag from third, but Santana's throw from right arrived home in time, completing an inning-ending double play.
It turned out to be the only threat for a while Wednesday as Foltynewicz and San Antonio starter Matt Wisler matched zeroes over the first five innings.
The Missions cashed in on the game's next scoring chance in the sixth. Foltynewicz began the inning by hitting Noel with a pitch. The Hooks hurler compounded his troubles during the next at bat when his pickoff attempt skipped past first baseman Erik Castro, allowing Noel to advance to second. Spangenberg moved Noel up to third when he followed with a sacrifice bunt. After Foltynewicz retired Buschini for the second out, reigning TL Player of the Week Tommy Medica broke the scoreless tie with a clutch, RBI single into right.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Hooks finally got on the board themselves. Santana began the rally when he worked a one-out walk, ending the night for Wisler. Missions' manager Rich Dauer elected to bring in right-hander Ryan Kelly, who promptly allowed a single to right off the bat of Castro. Kelly responded by striking out next batter, Jonathan Meyer for the inning's second out. However, Duffy followed with a clutch single into center, tying the game at one.
San Antonio wasted a great chance to break the one-all tie in the top of the 11th. The Missions opened the frame against reliever Jonas Dufek (1-0) with consecutive singles by Buschini and Medica. Jake Blackwood moved both runners up a base when he executed a sacrifice bunt. After Corpus Christi elected to intentionally walk Yeison Asencio to load the bases, Dufek (1-0) escaped the jam by striking out Lee Orr and then getting Austin Hedges to hit into an inning-ending force out.
The Hooks began the bottom of the 11th with a leadoff single by Santana off reliever James Needy, who was in his second inning of work in his 2013 debut with San Antonio. After Needy (0-1) walked Castro, Meyer moved both runners up a base with a sacrifice bunt. Duffy ended a game of three-hours, 11 minutes when he followed with a sacrifice fly to right.
Game Two of the TLDS will be Thursday at Whataburger Field, with first pitch slated for 7:05 PM. San Antonio will send Eddie Bonine to the hill, while Corpus Christi will counter with fellow righty Nick Tropeano.