NORTH LITTLE ROCK - Kyle Smith authored a solid start and Nolan Fontana provided a key two-out, two-run single in the seventh as Corpus Christi dispatched the Travelers 3-1 Thursday night at Dickey-Stephens Park.
The Hooks (25-21), who have won six of their last 8 games, improve to 7-1 on the road against the Texas League North this season.
Smith allowed the first two runners to reach in the opening frame. Adam Melker, who doubled down the right-field line, scored on a grounder toward first base. Smith struck out two, holding Arkansas to a 1-0 advantage.
The Hooks right-hander permitted just two more hits the rest of the way. Smith (1-2) earned his first Double-A victory, striking out five against one walk in 6.0 innings.
Meanwhile, Drew Rucinski worked around six hits and stranded five over six scoreless innings.
Leading 1-0, Brandon Sisk entered for the Travs (21-24) in the seventh and plunked the lead-off hitter, Leo Heras, with a 2-2 pitch. Tyler Heineman laced a double down the left-field line, posting a pair in scoring position. Jio Mier struck out before Telvin Nash coaxed a four-pitch walk.
David Carpenter relieved Sisk (0-2) and fell behind Delino DeShields, Jr., 2-0. Carpenter bounced back by inducing a pop up to second base for the second out. The momentum was short-lived as Carpenter uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Heras to race home to tie the game. Fontana, with the count level at 2, seared a single into center field to plate two for a 3-1 Hooks lead.
Patrick Urckfitz relieved Smith and was bolstered by a sterling defensive play right out of the gate. Jett Bandy led off and hit a fly ball that faded toward the seats down the right-field line. Preston Tucker tracked it down and leaned over the concrete retaining wall to make the catch. Tucker tumbled into the bleachers but shortly emerged with the baseball in glove for the out.
Urckfitz went on toss two scoreless innings and Michael Dimock nailed down his first Double-A save by striking out Vance Albitz, who represented the tying run.
The Hooks shoot for their second sweep of the season Friday night. Brady Rodgers (1-5, 4.11) takes the hill for Corpus Christi. Arkansas counters with Orangel Arenas (3-1, 2.67) in a 7:10 start.