The RockHounds won for the ninth time in their last ten games, improved to 12-3 in their last 15 and reclaimed first place in the Texas League South with a 2-1 win Friday night at Corpus Christi. The victory came thanks to a key swing of the bat from the Texas League's leading hitter and an outstanding bit of "emergency duty" from the bullpen.
B.J. Boyd's bases-loaded double in the third inning provided all the offense and Ben Bracewell and Sam Bragg combined for 6.2 innings of relief after starter Brett Graves had to leave the game in the third with an apparent blister on his pitching hand.
The RockHounds loaded the bases in the third on singles by Argenis Raga, Richie Martin and J.P. Sportman. Boyd followed with a double off the left field wall, giving the RockHounds a 2-0 lead.
The 'Hounds still had men at second and third with one out, but could not increase the lead. The missed opportunities would be an all too familiar theme for both clubs, as they combined to leave 18 runners on base and squandered 21 runners overall. The RockHounds left eight men on and hit into a pair double plays while the Hooks stranded 10 and had one caught stealing.
J.D. Davis ripped a solo home run to left leading off the fourth and the Hooks got the next two men on base as well, eventually loading the bases with two out, but could not produce the equalizer.
Bracewell went 3.2 innings for the win and Bragg picked up his second save of the season, this one in "old school," three-inning style. Corpus Christi's Dean Deetz gave up just the two-run double to Boyd, but took the loss as the Hooks dropped their 10th straight.
The RockHounds won for the ninth time in their last 10 games and are 12-3 in their last fifteen. The 'Hounds won for the seventh straight time against Corpus Christi and are 8-2 in the season series.
The Hooks, who led the RockHounds by four games in the division race when the clubs opened a four-game series in West Texas 11 days ago on May 2, have lost 10 straight games - seven of those to the RockHounds - and are now five games back in the Texas League South.
San Antonio fell for just the second time in 11 games, as Rangers prospect Yohander Mendez took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in Frisco's 2-0 two-hit win at Nelson Wolff Stadium in San Antonio. The loss drops the Missions one game behind the RockHounds.
Corpus Christi starter Dean Deetz entered Friday's game having allowed just two runs on 10 hits over 22 innings in his first five outings for a 0.79 ERA. He didn't allow much, but the 'Hounds did get to the right-hander for two runs on six hits and eight strikeouts in five innings.
Viosergy Rosa (1-for-4) again extended a pair of streaks in the win. Rosa has now hit in 10 straight games (16-for-36, .444) and has reached base in 13 straight (19-for-47, .404). In the 10-game hitting streak, the Hounds' first baseman has reached base in 23-of-43 plate appearances (.535 on-base percentage).
Two other streaks, however, came to an end. Max Schrock (0-for-4) saw his 12-game hitting streak snapped and Brett Vertigan (0-for-5) failed to reach base for the first time in 21 games.
B.J. Boyd continued his remarkable season with a 2-for-4 night, driving in the club's only two runs. The stat is redundant, but deserving of the repetition: the league's leading hitter (.376) has now reached base in 27-of-29 games (with at least one at-bat) and has hits in 24-of-28 (with at least one at-bat).
The 'Hounds and Hooks meet Saturday evening at 7:05 p.m. before concluding the four-game series with a 2:05 p.m. Sunday matinee.
The Hooks send right-hander Josh James (2-0, 2.19) against the RockHounds' Corey Walter (2-0, 1.29). Walter was originally slated to pitch in Friday's game, but the RockHounds' rotation was changed slightly (Wednesday's off day providing the somewhat rare chance to made adjustments) and Brett Graves was moved to the Friday slot.
The road swing continues with a four-game series at Frisco (next Monday through Thursday).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.