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Aplin the Ace in Lucky 13th

June 8, 2014

CORPUS CHRISTI - Andrew Aplin's 13th-inning single scored Nolan Fontana to lift Corpus Christi past San Antonio 3-2 Saturday at Whataburger Field before 5,912.

Aplin lined Jerry Sullivan's 0-1 offering up the middle to end the three-hour, 46-minute contest. Fontana led off the home 13th by doubling into the right-center field gap.

Hooks right fielder Preston Tucker preserved a 2-2 tie in the eighth, selling out to snag Robert Kral's sinking liner with runners at the corners. Yeison Asencio, who doubled off Travis Ballew with one away, was left 90 feet from the pay station.

Despite three hits in the 11th, San Antonio failed to tally against Andrew Robinson. Rymer Liriano singled but was struck by Kral's dead-ball base hit between first and second. Austin Hedges followed with a single, but Robinson stranded Kral at third, getting Cody Overbeck on a wicked ground out to shortstop Jio Mier and fanning Adam Buschini.

The Missions bullpen - Adys Portillo, Luis De La Cruz, Frank Garces and Sullivan (2-2) - combined for 12 strikeouts in seven-plus innings. Fontana's double was the first Hooks extra-base hit in 12 frames.

Tyson Perez (1-0), the fourth Corpus Christi reliever to hold San Antonio at bay, earned his first Double-A victory. Michael Dimock, Ballew, Robinson and Perez teamed up for eight strikeouts and 7 1/3 scoreless.

Corpus Christi put up a run during the first. Newcomer Ruben Sosa, who joined the Hooks Saturday from High-A Lancaster, drove a 2-2 fastball from James Needy into the left-field corner for a lead-off double. Sosa scooted to third on a wild pitch and after Fontana walked, Aplin whipped a single over the head of second baseman Casey McElroy for a 1-0 lead.

San Antonio's promise of an opening double then went unfulfilled, Kral remaining at the keystone as Kyle Smith set down the next three men.

The Hooks played small ball in the fourth while doubling their advantage. Carlos Perdomo laid down a bunt single, swiped second, was sacrificed to third by Rene Garcia and sprinted home when Mier launched a sacrifice fly to right.

San Antonio answered by knotting the score. Hedges' stroked a lead-off shot to the left-field berm, his fifth round-tripper of the season. Bridger Hunt contributed a one-out RBI single, plating Buschini, who singled and moved into scoring position on Smith's errant pick-off attempt.

Smith was pulled with a pitch count of 91 (53 strikes). He allowed one earned run, five hits, walked two and struck out four over 5 2/3 innings.

Needy lasted five frames, yielding five hits and three walks to go with three strikeouts. He threw 81 pitches (51).

Aplin's three hits led all players. Fontana, who drew three walks, tops the Texas League with 50 free passes. He's reached base in 40 of his last 43 games.

The Hooks pitch Tommy Shirley (5-2) Sunday at 6:10 against fellow lefty Juan Oramas (1-0). Ballpark gates open at 4:40 and all fans receive a 2014 Hooks Team Photo from the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Members of the ball club sign autographs between 4:45 and 5:15.

It's also H-E-B Kids Day, so children run the bases postgame.