"Long Story," Chapter Six
In April, when the RockHounds lost starters Raul Alcantara and Tanner Peters to injuries, Nate Long was inserted into the line-up as a "spot starter." Not only is Nate still in the rotation, he's among the Texas League's top 10 pitchers and is deserving of all-star consideration
In (another) close game between the RockHounds and Corpus Christi, Long went 8.0 innings, allowing two runs on five hits, walking two and striking out six. The right-hander out of the University of Texas at Arlington improved to 6-1, with a 2.90 ERA (eighth in the Texas League). In his 10 starts, Nate has been even better … going 4-1, with a 2.53 ERA.
The teams exchanged runs in the first, with Delino DeShields, Jr. and Josh Whitaker delivering RBI singles for the Hooks and 'Hounds, respectively. Long would not allow another run until the sixth, when Preston Tucker sent his league-leading 14th home run of the year into the left field bullpen, drawing Corpus Christi to within 3-2. Whitaker and Tucker entered the game tied for the league lead, each with 37 RBI.
The winning run(s) came off the bat of RockHounds catcher Beau Taylor. After Dusty Coleman singled with two out in the second, Taylor doubled to center, just beyond the reach of DeShields, Jr., giving 'Hounds a 2-1 lead. In the fourth, Miles Head singled and went to second on Coleman's sacrifice bunt. Taylor doubled again (and again with two out), this time to the wall in left-center, scoring Head with what would become the game-winner. The RockHounds got a single from Billy Burns with two out in the fourth, but were sent down in order the rest of the way (13-in-a-row) by starter Michael Hauschild and reliever Alex Sogard (who pitched three perfect innings).
Seth Frankoff pitched the ninth, allowing a one-out walk to Tucker and a single to DeShields, Jr. before getting a force out on a sharp grounder to third off the bat of Jonathan Meyer. Frankoff then slammed the door with a three-pitch strikeout of Tyler Heineman, closing the game with a nasty back door slider, earning his 11ith save in 12 opportunities.
WP: Nate Long (6-1, 2.90)
LP: Michael Hauschild (1-1, 2.67)
SV: Seth Frankoff (11, 1.67)
HR: Corpus Christi - Preston Tucker (14) Solo in the sixth (off Nate Long)
Kibbles & Bits
- Frisco held off San Antonio, 5-4, to maintain its lead in the South Division. The RoughRiders (35-23) continue to lead the RockHounds (32-27) by three-and-a-half games … with San Antonio (30-29) now five-and-half back and Corpus Christi (29-30) six-and-a-half games out.
While there are only 11 games remaining in the first half race, the RockHounds and RoughRiders meet six times in that time, beginning with a four-game series opening Saturday at Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco.
- Thursday night's win was the RockHounds' third in-a-row in the series with Corpus Christi, and the 'Hounds are a perfect 7-0 against the Hooks at Security Bank Ballpark. Perspective - - - In 2013, Corpus Christi went 23-9 against the RockHounds in the season series, meaning the 'Hounds have now won more games (10) through the first 15 meetings between the clubs in 2014 than they did all of last year.
- The first three games of the (four-game) series have been decided by a total of four runs.
- Josh Whitaker (1-4, RBI) extended his hit streak to seven games. He is (12-28, .429, HR and seven RBI) in the seven-gamer and has also hit in 10-of-his-last-11 (17-44, .386, HR, 10 RBI). Josh shares the Texas League lead (with Corpus Christi's Preston Tucker) with 38 RBI … ranks second in the TL in slugging (.533) and third in the batting race (.320).
- Billy Burns went 2-for-4 and stole his Texas League-leading 26th base. The RockHounds leadoff batter has hits in 8-of-10 games (14-39, .359) and his hitting .375 in his last dozen games.
vs. Corpus Christi Hooks (Houston Astros' AA Affiliate)
Friday, June 6 - 7:00 p.m. (Radio at 6:53 p.m.)
Security Bank Ballpark
Corpus Christi: Jordan Jankowski (RH, 0-1, 3.89)
RockHounds: Chris Jensen (RH, 2-5, 4.72)