San Antonio rode the arm of veteran Eddie Bonine to a huge, 2-0 win over Corpus Christi in Game Two of the Texas League South Division Series Thursday night at Whataburger Field.
Much like in Game One, pitching dominated the action, with Bonine and Hooks right-hander Nick Tropeano matching zeroes over the first three innings.
The Missions finally got to Tropeano in the fourth. Cory Spangenberg opened the frame by working a walk. Adam Buschini followed with a double into left-center field, allowing Spangenberg to score all the way from first. Two batters later, Yeison Asencio pushed the San Antonio lead to 2-0 with a clutch, two-out double to right.
In the fifth, the Missions threatened to pad their lead when they put runners on first and third with two outs for Spangenberg. However, Tropeano (0-1) buckled down, ending the San Antonio scoring chance by retiring the second baseman on strikes.
Bonine, who had allowed just one hit over his first five innings, avoided a major jam of his own in the sixth. The Hooks put their first two hitters on base courtesy of a Ronny Torreyes single and a Preston Tucker walk. Next batter, Erik Castro lifted a soft fly ball to left center that looked like it would drop for a hit. Fortunately for San Antonio, left fielder Adam Buschini, not only made a terrific sliding catch, but was able to double off Torreyes at second. After walking Domingo Santana, Bonine struck out Houston rehabber Carlos Corporan to end the inning.
The Hooks failed to cash in on another terrific scoring chance in the bottom of the seventh. For the second straight inning, Corpus Christi put their first two runners on, this time with consecutive singles from Matt Duffy and Drew Muren. Bonine caught a break when next batter Enrique Hernandez popped out to catcher Rocky Gale on a sacrifice bunt attempt. After pinch-hitter Michael Burgess flew out to center for the second out, Torreyes stroked a single into center that appeared to be deep enough to score Duffy from second. However, center fielder Rico Noel made a phenomenal throw to the plate, gunning out Duffy to end the Hooks final threat of the night.
The seventh was the final inning for Bonine (1-0), who allowed just five hits and three walks, while striking out two in a gutsy performance.
After right-hander Tim Sexton kept the Hooks off the board in the eighth, closer Jeremy McBryde (1st save) capped San Antonio's series-tying shutout with a perfect ninth.
The teams have combined for just five runs in the first two games of the series.
Game Three of the TLDS will be Friday at Wolff Stadium, with first pitch slated for 7:05 PM. On the hill for the Missions will be right-hander Donn Roach, who had a 2.21 ERA in 13 home starts this season. Luis Cruz will take the ball for the Hooks. The southpaw had a career night in the Alamo City on August 26, when he struck out a career-high 14 batters in a complete game, two-hit shutout.