Springfield, MO - The Corpus Christi Hooks came back late and outlasted the Springfield Cardinals, winning the series finale, 7-6, in 11 innings before 4,156 fans on Tuesday afternoon. SS Aledmys Diaz helped lead the Cardinals offense, going 4-for-5 with three RBIs and only missing the cycle by a home run.
After the Hooks (5-1) jumped in front with a run against RHP Kurt Heyer in the top of the first, the Cardinals (1-5) responded right away in the bottom of the inning. With one away, CF James Ramsey placed a double just inside the left field line. SS Aledmys Diaz plated Ramsey with an RBI triple to right, swinging himself all the way to third. 1B Jonathan Rodriguez then belted a two-run home run over the left field wall, propelling the Cardinals in front, 3-1.
Springfield added to the advantage in the bottom of the third. O'Neill started the inning with a free pass, before taking second on a bunt single from Ramsey. After a sacrifice bunt by Diaz, the Hooks intentionally walked Rodriguez to load the bases. 3B Curt Smith came up next and drove an RBI sacrifice fly to center field, bringing in O'Neill for the 4-1 advantage.
While the Cardinals bats were connecting, Heyer settled into a great groove on the mound. The right-hander lasted 7.0 innings, scattering just four hits with only the one run allowed while striking out four. From the first out in the second through the first out in the seventh, Heyer retired 15 Hooks in a row, keeping the Cardinals lead intact.
The Cardinals then struck again in the bottom of the seventh inning. Ramsey connected with a one-out double, before Diaz knocked an RBI double of his own, making it 5-1.
However, the Hooks refused to go down quietly, rallying for five runs in the top of the ninth inning. After a walk and a double started the stanza, 2B Enrique Hernandez drove a two-run double to make it 5-3. RBI singles from 1B MP Cokinos and 3B Joe Sclafani later in the inning tied the game, before a go-ahead RBI bunt single by CF Delino DeShields, Jr. squeezed in the frame's fifth run for the 6-5 lead.
The Cardinals, though, took their turn to respond in the bottom of the ninth inning. O'Neill worked a leadoff walk to start the frame. He took off for second on a pitch to Ramsey and not only slid in safely, but also advanced to third when C Tyler Heineman's throw bounced out to center field. RHP Jorge De Leon (W, 1-0) did induce a grounder to second from Ramsey that kept O'Neill at third momentarily, but Diaz then struck again, muscling a broken-bat RBI single to center field to tie the game, 6-6.
Both sides exchanged a scoreless 10th, but then the Hooks moved back in front in the top of the 11th. On the frame's first pitch from LHP Ryan Sherriff (L, 0-1), 3B Jio Mier knocked a solo home run over the left field wall, moving Corpus Christi into the 7-6 advantage.
O'Neill again started an inning by getting to first, leading off the bottom of the 11th with a single, but RHP Travis Ballew (S, 2) worked around it to close the 7-6 win for the Hooks in 11 frames.
Click here for the complete box score from Tuesday's game.
Cardinals hit the road for Texas; kick off next home series on April 17
The Cardinals take to the road for the first time this season, starting a six-game road trip in San Antonio on Thursday night at 7:05pm. Catch all the action on Jock 98.7FM and SpringfieldCardinals.com, and tune in 15 minutes early for the Coyote's Sports Cafe Pregame Show.
Springfield then returns home to host the Arkansas Travelers for a four-game home series, starting on Thursday, April 17. The night will be a "Buck a Brat" Night with $1 bratwursts and a 7:10pm First Pitch. For the full promotional rundown, click the link below.
Click here for the complete 2014 Promotional Schedule and to get your tickets right now.
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