Anyone watching the RockHounds' pregame workout Thursday on afternoon might have wondered why the players were in full uniform for what Allen Iverson would surely have pointed out was practice ("... we're talkin' about practice"). Manager Ryan Christenson's message was simple - - - the RockHounds were going their backsides off at practice and take that same approach into the game. Sorry, Allen, but the idea paid off.
Led by a remarkable performance from a quartet of hitters ... and flirting with a no-hitter along the way ... the RockHounds crushed the Corpus Christi Hooks, 13-0, on a two-hit shutout in front of a Cinco de Mayo fireworks night crowd of nearly five thousand (4,684).
By the end of the fourth inning, a span in which they each came to the plate four times, Jaycob Brugman, Ryon Healy, Matt Chapman and Viosergy Rosa were a combined 10-for-14, with two walks, two doubles, two triples, eight runs and eight runs batted in. Even two of their four (total) outs produced runs. Through their first two trips to the plate, the quartet was a perfect 7-for-7 plus a walk.
Long before the ballpark fireworks, Brugman and Healy lit the fuse with back-to-back first-inning triples. Chapman followed with an RBI single and Rose, after falling behind, 0-2, ripped an RBI double to give the 'Hounds an early, 3-0, lead. In the third, Brugman walked, Healy doubled and Chapman and Rose delivered back-to-back RBI singles. The four then keyed a seven-run fourth inning that would build the edge to 12-0.
Almost lost in the uprising was a brilliant outing from Raul Alcantara, who had been roughed up for seven runs in two innings in his first start against Corpus Christi on April 25. He pitched six innings, allowing only a walk (one batter reached on an error) while striking out four in a dominating performance (he left after 88 pitches). Ben Bracewell pitched a 1-2-3 seventh before Jack Mayfield broke up the no-hit bid with a leadoff single up the middle in the eighth. Alex Bregman's ninth-inning double was the Hooks' only other hit.
… are 17-10 (10-3 at Security Bank Ballpark and 7-7 on the road) … have won eight of their last nine ... are 5-2 in the home stand (with Friday's game against the Hooks remaining) … and are 6-1 versus Corpus Christi (including a four-game sweep at Corpus Christi, April 25-28).
… remain 3.5 games behind first place Frisco in the Texas League South Division after the RoughRiders (20-6) blasted the Missions, 11-4, in San Antonio. The Hooks are now eight games back and San Antonio finds itself 11.5 games behind the red-hot Riders.
… conclude their eight-game homestand on Friday night, hosting Corpus Christi. The first 1,000 adult fans will receive a free RockHounds jersey.
Kibbles & Bits
STAT OF THE DAY There was one "dark cloud" for the RockHounds on an otherwise sensational night, and it was tied into to a rare occurrence. The leadoff batter for each team was injured on a foul ball ... each in the first inning. Corpus Christi's Teoscar Hernandez and the RockHounds' Franklin Barreto both completed their at bats, but neither player returned to the field in the subsequent inning.
- Ryon Healy's remarkable start to the season (he ranks in the top five in the Texas League in at least a dozen categories) now includes a current seven-game hit streak, in which the RockHounds' first baseman is hitting .500 (14-for-28). Half of his 40 hits have been for extra bases. The 20 extra-base hits leads all of Minor League Baseball and include three triples (he had four, total, in his first two and a half pro seasons).
- In his first nine games of the season, J.P. Sportman hit .143 (5-for-35). In his last nine (including a 3-for-5 night Thursday with two runs and a double), he is hitting .457 (16-for-35).
- Viosergy Rosa extended his on-base streak to 14 games (17-for-51, .333) and has hit in five straight games (8-for-20, .400).
- Jaycob Brugman extended his hit streak to nine games (14-for-46, .304) and has hit in 15 of his last 16 games (25-for-79, .316).