FRISCO, TEXAS (July 10, 2014) - The Frisco RoughRiders couldn't overcome their opponent's small ball tactics as the Corpus Christi Hooks took down the 'Riders 4-1 at Dr Pepper Ballpark Thursday night. The Hooks only needed five hits to pick up their four runs.
The 'Riders (10-9, 50-38) failed to notch their third straight win despite outhitting the Hooks (8-5). The issue for Frisco came in finishing off innings as six total 'Riders were left stranded. Alex Claudio (1-1) gave up his first earned runs as a 'Rider in six innings pitched. The 22-year-old lefty allowed four earned runs on four hits while striking out four and walking one.
Jordan Jankowski (3-3) brought his best stuff for the Hooks, easily pacing his way through five commanding innings. The right-hander allowed no runs on four hits and struck out eight of his 17 faced batters.
The Hooks (11-9, 45-45) are known for their exceptional ability to play small ball and that was on full display right off the bat. After 'Riders starter Claudio walked Tony Kemp, Ruben Sosa laid down a sacrifice bunt toward the pitcher's mound. On the next pitch, Kemp got a great jump and stole third. Delino DeShields Jr. brought Kemp home with an RBI groundout. Even though Corpus Christi went into the bottom of the first with no hits, the visiting team held a 1-0 lead.
Four of Claudio's first five pitches were balls as he struggled to find his command. However, he quickly found his groove and struck out three consecutive batters in the second inning with three breaking balls. All three Hooks batters were deceived by the side-arming lefty's funky release point and each went down swinging.
As Claudio began heating up, Jankowski did as well and picked up his fifth strikeout against his eighth batter faced in the bottom of the third frame.
A peculiar play in the bottom of the fourth forced Riders manager Jason Wood to get heated with crew chief Bryan Fields. After Trever Adams struck out swinging for the second out of the inning, Odubel Herrera attempted to steal second. Tyler Heineman used some theatrics to end the frame by backing up into Adams, who was walking out of the batter's box, as the Hooks catcher made it look as if he was trying to throw Odubel Herrera out at second. Fields called batter interference for the third out to end the inning, and Wood gave the home base umpire a piece of his mind but remained in the game.
Corpus Christi followed up this odd occurrence with a big two-run fifth inning. The Hooks began with back-to-back singles and a sacrifice bunt by Leo Heras to move the runners to second and third. Carlos Perdomo then knocked a perfectly placed two-RBI single into right-center field between Chris Grayson and Teodoro Martinez to make the score 3-0.
Frisco's opponent wasn't done padding their lead as they added one more in the sixth. Sosa fired one into the Diamond Deck in left field for his second homer of the season.
Jankowski's night came to an end after five innings and Kyle Smith took the cowhide from the starter. During his second inning of action in the seventh, Smith allowed a leadoff single to Adams on a 2-2 pitch. With Joey Gallo walking to the plate, the 'Riders had a great chance to reduce the deficit. Hooks right fielder Heras, though, used an athletic sliding catch to turn a shallow pop fly into the first out of the frame. Smith struck out back-to-back batters to leave the mound without a runner getting in scoring position.
The 'Riders offense found some life in the eighth inning when multiple Frisco runners-Martinez and Guilder Rodriguez-got on base for the first time on the night. This would force Smith's night to come to a close as the Hooks gave Mitchell Lambson the responsibility to clean things up. The lefty pitcher looked uncomfortable to start and loaded the bases after Patrick Cantwell lofted a single into shallow right field. Herrera bounced an RBI sacrifice grounder over Lambson's glove to second base to make the score 4-1, but it would be too little, too late for the 'Riders.
Hooks Tyson Perez entered the game in the ninth and picked up his fifth save of the season.
The RoughRiders will look to (win their third straight game)…(take the series lead) against the Hooks Friday at 7:05 p.m. at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Frisco righty Alec Asher (7-7, 3.44) will take the mound against left-hander Luis Cruz (5-5, 3.24 ERA). For tickets to see the 'Riders in 2014, call 972-731-9200, e-mail Info@RidersBaseball.com or visit www.ridersbaseball.com.