FRISCO, TEXAS (July 11, 2014) - The Hooks stole the show and took game three in impressive fashion by pounding Frisco 12-4 on Friday night at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Luis Cruz struck out eight in seven strong frames and held Frisco at bay, while Alec Asher was only able to pitch two frames.
The scoring came early and often for Corpus Christi, the Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros, and they did so by sending 16 men to the plate in the first two frames of the contest. Tony Kemp opened the game by sending a triple down the first base line and he would soon score on Ruben Sosa's RBI double that was nearly identical to Kemp's base hit.
Delino DeShields Jr. sacrificed Sosa to third on a bunt and he reached first safely on a fielding error by Frisco third baseman Drew Robinson. The ball popped out of Robinson's hand as he attempted the throw to first and DeShields Jr. reached safely without a throw.
Jonathan Meyer followed that with an RBI double of his own, which was the Hooks' third extra-base hit in four at-bats, and two runs scored to give Corpus Christi a quick 3-0 lead.
Meyer was sacrificed to third on a deep fly ball to center off the bat of Andrew Aplin, which was the first out of the inning for Asher and the 'Riders, and Leo Heras was retired following that on another deep fly ball to the foul territory in left field.
Carlos Perdomo wanted to add to the first-inning thrashing and he did so with a two-out ground rule double to deep left field to make it 4-0 Hooks. Tyler Heineman was called out on strikes to end the Hooks' half of the first.
After a perfect inning for Corpus Christi starter Luis Cruz the Hooks busted the game open with another four-spot in the second frame. This inning began with a Brandon Meredith double to deep left. Kemp singled to right-center to put runners on the corners quickly, but Asher buckled down to retire his next two hitters on a line drive to short and a fly ball to right.
Kemp stole second and Meyer singled to center to plate two and give him four RBI in his first two-at bats. Aplin followed suit by making it 8-0 Hooks with his fifth homer of the year, this one to right field, and the onslaught was busted open.
Asher then gave up a single to Heras, but the tall righty retired Perdomo on a 4-3 ground ball to conclude the offensive outburst. That completed Asher's (7-8) short outing as he was only able to pitch two innings while giving up eight runs (six earned) on nine base hits with one strike out and one homer allowed.
Frisco (10-10, 50-39) needed a burst of energy from some source and that was provided by Robinson in the bottom half of the second. Robinson launched a two-out two-run homer to deep center, his ninth of the year, and the 'Riders found their way onto the scoreboard 8-2.
Corpus Christi (12-9, 46-45) answered with three more runs in the third, these off of Brodie Downs who made his Double-A debut, to make the score 11-2 on RBI hits by Sosa, Meyer and Aplin (who earned his fifth RBI of the game on a fielder's choice ground ball to third).
Geovany Soto went 0-for-2 with a walk in his second game with Frisco to add to his rehab work and was replaced in the top of the fifth by Patrick Cantwell.
The Hooks sent eight men to the plate in each of the first three innings of the contest, but 'Riders pitching settled in to retire their next 12 batters faced. Those frames came via Downs, who looked sharp following his rocky third frame, and Randy Henry, who retired eight straight at one point.
Downs' debut was complete after two innings, four hits and three runs. The 34-year-old walked and struck out two in his debut. Henry pitched a clean three innings in which he gave up one hit without allowing a run and striking out one.
The RoughRiders tacked on a couple of runs in the eighth to make the score 11-4 and one of those came via Rangers rehabber Engel Beltre. The speedy outfielder singled home Jake Skole to make it 11-3 and he later scored a run on a Trever Adams ground ball to short which made the score 11-4 Hooks.
Beltre finished his first assignment with Frisco by going 2-for-4 with two singles. Hooks' starter Cruz (6-5) pitched seven innings and allowed two runs on three hits while walking one and striking out eight.
The game experienced a feel-good moment in the top of the ninth when veteran infielder Guilder Rodriguez made his 2014 pitching debut and quickly retired his first two batters with a pair of fly balls, but a two-out single pushed the lead to 12-4. Heineman hit a two-out single and Meredith drew a walk to put two on, and Kemp singled in the Hooks' 12th run of the contest.
Mitchell Lambson entered the game in the ninth and closed things out with a perfect inning.
The 'Riders look to split the series with Corpus Christi with a win on Saturday night at Dr Pepper Ballpark. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. and features righty Jerad Eickhoff (6-6, 4.17 ERA) against fellow righty Brady Rodgers (4-9, 4.48 ERA). For tickets to see the 'Riders in 2014, call 972-731-9200, e-mail Info@RidersBaseball.com or visit www.ridersbaseball.com.