MIDLAND, TX - George Springer belted two home runs and the Hooks withstood a late RockHound rally as Corpus Christi edged Midland 7-6 on a frigid Tuesday night at Citibank Ballpark.
The RockHounds (11-7) jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two innings against Nick Tropeano. With two away in the first, a double by Jake Goebbert and a single off the bat of Jeremy Barfield plated the first two runs. Midland pushed across an unearned run in the third thanks to a couple walks and an error - the two teams would combine for eight on the night.
Corpus Christi (10-8) got to RockHound starter Josh Bowman in the fourth. Springer coaxed a lead-off walk and raced to third on a single to center by Carlos Perez. Jonathan Meyer then hit a fly ball to centerfield, scoring Springer who beat the throw home with a headlong dive.
Springer tied the game in the fifth, crushing a 3-1 pitch from Bowman well over the tall fence in right. The two-run shot was his fifth of the season.
Enrique Hernandez opened the sixth with a single off Midland reliever Frank Gailey. Michael Burgess laid down a perfect bunt down the third-base line. Jefry Marte tried to the glove the ball but could not find the handle and was charged an error. Erik Castro was next and bunted a ball which rested a few feet from home plate and directly on the foul line. Catcher Beau Taylor picked it up and held on, thinking that the ball was not in play. The ball was ruled fair by umpire Travis Eggert, loading the bases with no outs. Drew Muren struck out but Ben Orloff picked him up with a sac fly to right field, putting the Hooks up by a run at 4-3.
Corpus Christi lefty Alex Sogard fashioned two scoreless innings and walked one while striking out four to bridge the gap between Tropeano and Bobby Doran.
Burgess added on to the Hooks' advantage in the eighth. After a lead-off walk, Burgess moved to third on a bunt by Castro and a wayward throw from Marte charging in from third. He then crossed the pay station when Carlos Fisher uncorked a wild pitch to Drew Muren.
Doran kept the RockHounds off the scoreboard in the sixth and seventh before Goebbert drilled a 2-2 pitch over the berm in right to open the eighth and draw Midland within a run at 5-4. A single, a walk and an errant pickoff attempt by catcher Carlos Perez put runners at second and third with no outs. Doran answered by striking out Beau Taylor before being lifted for closer Jason Stoffel who promptly fanned Darwin Perez. Chad Oberacker was next and seared a sizzling line drive to the third baseman, Meyer, who made the catch for the final out.
Springer got the run right back, leading off the ninth with his second home run of the night, a line drive into the RockHounds bullpen in right field.
Dusty Coleman reached to open the home ninth on an error by Orloff at short. Stoffel then induced a lineout from Anthony Aliotti and struck out Marte, bringing Goebbert to the plate. The former Hook stroked his second double of the night to put runners at second and third. Stoffel hit the next batter and then surrendered a double down the right field line by Michael Fabiaschi which plated a pair for his second blown save in as many chances. Lefty Patrick Urckfitz entered the game and walked Taylor before striking out Darwin Perez with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Undeterred, Burgess worked a walk from Paul Smyth (2-1) to begin the 10th. Castro laid down his second sac bunt of the night and Muren beat out an infield hit, pushing Burgess to third. Orloff provided the game-winner with a sac fly to right field.
Urckfitz (2-1) struck out the side in the 10th to notch the victory.
The series continues Wednesday night when Asher Wojciechowski (2-0, 0.00) and David Martinez (1-0, 1.88) face RockHound lefty Carlos Hernandez (1-2, 4.11). First pitch is scheduled for 6:30.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.