After a one-day reprieve in the form of the Texas League's lone off-day in a 39-day stretch, the Corpus Christi Hooks were looking to end an eight-game losing streak and were taking aim at the team responsible for the first four of those defeats - the RockHounds.
The Hooks broke a scoreless tie in the fourth and carried the 1-0 lead into the eighth, when the 'Hounds manufactured a pair of runs for a 2-1 lead, going on to a 3-1 win on Thursday night at Whataburger FIeld, their eighth in the last nine games.
Garrett Stubbs drew a one-out walk from RockHounds starter Heath Fillmyer in the fourth. Stubbs stole second and scored the game's first run on a double to the right-center field gap off the bat of Alejandro Garcia.
The RockHounds got on the board in the eighth inning with Richie Martin sending a one-out double to the base of the left field wall off reliever Eric Peterson. With the Hooks defense strongly shading to the right side, Brett Vertigan pushed a perfect bunt up the third base line for a single, moving Martin to third. From there, J.P. Sportman sent a sacrifice fly to deep center, scoring Martin and tying the game.
Video: RockHounds' Martin lines a double
Left-hander Michael Freeman relieved Peterson and was greeted by a single up the middle from B.J. Boyd, putting runners at the corners. Tyler Marincov fell behind Freeman on back-to-back swing-and-misses, then lined the 0-2 pitch up the right field line for the go-ahead single. The 'Hounds added an insurance run on a walk, a single by Vertigan and two wild pitches in the ninth, building the lead to 3-1.
The 'Hounds bullpen delivered five scoreless innings, two each from Brandon Mann and Lou Trivino and a 1-2-3 ninth from Kyle Finnegan. Trivino (4-0, 0.61) was the winner with Finnegan earning his fifth save in as many chances.
The RockHounds won for the eighth time in their last nine games and are 11-3 in their last fourteen. The 'Hounds are now 7-2 against Corpus Christi for the season and have won six straight in the season series.
San Antonio stayed red hot with a 5-4 home win over Frisco, staying in a first-place tie with the RockHounds and winning for the ninth time in their last 10 games.
Brett Vertigan (2-for-5, run) extended his on-base streak to 20 games and his eighth-inning bunt single was a critical hit in the win.
Max Schrock (1-for-4, double) extended his hit streak to 12 games (19-for-51, .373).
Viosergy Rosa (1-for-3, double, walk) extended a pair of streaks in the win. Rosa has now hit in nine straight games (15-for-32, .469) and has reached base in 12 straight (18-for-43, .419). In that nine-game stretch, the RockHounds' first baseman reached base in 22-of-39 plate appearances (.564 OBP).
B.J. Boyd went 1-for-4 with a key single in the game-winning rally (and narrowly missed a double or perhaps a home run with a drive to the left field wall in the fourth). The league's leading hitter has now reached base in 26-of-28 games (with at least one at-bat) and has hits in 23-of-27 games (with at least one at-bat).
Brandon Mann extended his scoreless innings streak to 17.1, over his last five outings.
The 'Hounds and Hooks meet Friday and Saturday at 7:05 p.m., followed by a 2:05 p.m. Sunday matinee.
The road swing continues with a four-game series at Frisco (next Monday through Thursday).
Friday's pitching match-up looks as good, at least on paper, as any in Minor League Baseball. The Hooks send right-hander Dean Deetz (3-0, 0.79) against the RockHounds' Corey Walter (2-0, 1.29).
Thursday marked the start of a stretch in which the RockHounds play 14 of their next 18 games on the road.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.