'Hounds take opener at first-place San Antonio, 7-1

Curtis reaches base five times, Meisner throws five scoreless in series opener

(Jeremy Davis/MiLB.com)

By Bob Hards / Midland RockHounds | July 17, 2017 1:11 AM ET

Casey Meisner's first Double-A win came in a breakout performance backed by a five-run uprising in the seventh and came thanks in part to a tremendous performance from a consummate pro.

Jermaine Curtis, whose résumé includes a brief stint in the Major Leagues - playing five games with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013 - was perfect in five trips to the plate on Sunday, going 3-for-3 with two runs, a double, two walks and a stolen base. His first two hits both turned into runs, giving the 'Hounds a 2-0 advantage they took into the seventh inning.

In the seventh, the RockHounds batted around, breaking the game open with five runs. Max Schrock walked and Tyler Ramirez reached on a fielder's choice by hustling to avoid a double play. Cesar Vargas relieved San Antonio starter Joey Lucchesi and the 'Hounds got to the Missions reliever for five consecutive hits. Sean Murphy doubled to deep left-center with Ramirez scoring from first. Richie Martin followed with an RBI double down the left field line and scored on the play when Luis Urias' throw, attempting to catch Martin at the bag at second, went wide. Jordan Tarsovich and B.J. Boyd rekindled the rally with back-to-back singles and Curtis followed with his third hit of the game, an RBI single to left. The first out Vargas recorded drove in the final run of the inning on Viosergy Rosa's sacrifice fly to center.

Video: The 'Hounds' Richie Martin scores on his own double

Curtis doubled with two out in the first, scoring on Rosa's single to left-center two pitches later and his infield single in the fourth turned into the club's second run on J.P. Sportman's 50th RBI of the season, a two-out infield single to second.

Meisner went five scoreless innings, allowing four hits (two of them flair singles), one walk and one hit batsman while striking out four. San Antonio advanced only one runner into scoring position against the 22-year-old right-hander from Cypress, Texas. Meisner's first win with the RockHounds improves his record to 1-3 and cut his ERA from 8.78 to 6.38 with his five scoreless innings of work.    

Quick Notes:

The RockHounds are 42-51 overall and 7-16 in the second half, 25-21 at home and 17-30 on the road, 29-28 against the South Division and 13-23 against the North, 11-10 in the season series with the league's top team San Antonio going 5-3 against the Missions at Security Bank Ballpark and 6-7 at Nelson Wolff Stadium.

The RockHounds have scored seven runs in four of their last five games, including three 7-1 wins (two over Corpus Christi and Sunday over the Missions). The 'Hounds have 63 hits in their last five games for an average of 12.6 hits per game.

Jermaine Curtis, who was in Spring Training with Oakland with hopes of winning a spot with the A's, instead found himself sidelined with a hamstring injury. He played in just two games in April, then missed nearly two months before joining the RockHounds on May 31. In two stints with the club, Curtis is hitting .400 (26-for-65) and has now hit in 12 consecutive games, a streak in which he is hitting exactly .500 (21-for-42).

Since moving to the leadoff spot for the first time this season - beginning with the just-concluded home series with Corpus Christi - Jordan Tarsovich has hit in all five of those games (8-for-24, .333).

J.P. Sportman is also on a five-game hitting (and RBI) streak that began with the Corpus Christi series (9-for-23, .391). Sportman, who on Sunday became just the 10th Texas League hitter to reach the 50-RBI plateau in 2017, now has a hit in 8-of-9 games (15-for-37, .405).

B.J. Boyd went 2-for-5 Sunday, with both hits coming on at-bats that opened with an 0-2 count. Like Tarsovich and Sportman, Boyd is on a five-game hitting streak that began with the homestand versus the Hooks (9-for-23, .391).

Viosergy Rosa has now hit in five straight games (7-for-21, .333), scoring five runs, with a double a home run and four RBI, as he leads the league with 68 runs batted in.

In the 10 games prior to Saturday's loss at home against Corpus Christi, Richie Martin was in a 2-for-34 slump. He has since busted out with four hits in his last eight at-bats, with a run, a double, a triple and two RBI in two games.

On Deck:

The RockHounds and Missions continue their four-game series at Nelson Wolff Stadium in San Antonio on Monday evening at 7:05 p.m. 

Monday's probable starters are RHP Chris Huffman (4-2, 2.63 ERA) for the Missions and RHP Dustin Hurlbutt (1-0, 2.30 ERA) for the RockHounds.

Huffman was selected by the Padres in the 14th round of the 2014 draft out of James Madison University. The 24-year-old has split the season between the Missions and Class-A Advanced Lake Elsinore. He went 1-3 with a 3.16 ERA in eight starts with the California League's Storm before his promotion to San Antonio and makes his third start against the RockHounds (1-0, 2.70): 13.1 IP, 11 H, 4 R/4 ER, 1 BB, 12 K.

Huffman's San Antonio season line (eight starts): 51.1 IP, 53 H, 10 BB, 43 K (1.23 WHIP / .269 average against / 4.30 K/BB ratio). 

Hurlbutt makes his fourth start since being promoted from Class-A Advanced Stockton. In his last two starts, he has gone 11.1 consecutive shutout innings, allowing just five hits and five walks while striking out seven batters. Selected by Oakland in the 16th round of the 2015 draft out of Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas, Hurlbutt was 2-2 with a 3.23 ERA in 15 games (eight starts) with Stockton in the hitter-friendly California League. In 69.2 innings with the Ports, he struck out 74 batters while walking just 16. Of the 11 walks he has issued with the RockHounds, six came in his first start.

Hurlbutt's RockHounds' season line (three starts): 15.2 IP, 9 H, 11 BB, 9 K (1.28 WHIP / .164 average against / 0.82 K/BB ratio).

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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