Rincon's 10th Inning Homer Sends Drillers Past Hooks
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX - Three times during Saturday's game at Corpus Christi the Tulsa Drillers took leads, only to watch the Hooks rally to tie the score each time. Forced into extra innings, Carlos Rincon came to the rescue for the Drillers. Rincon's two-run homer in the tenth inning finally produced a lead the Hooks could not erase as the Drillers claimed a crucial 6-4 win at Whataburger Field.
The result trimmed Tulsa's magic number to just one for claiming its third straight second-half title. With two days remaining in the regular season, a Tulsa win in either game, or a loss by Arkansas in its two games at Amarillo, would secure the Texas League's North Division title for the Drillers.
Saturday's victory did not come easily. For the eighth consecutive game, the Drillers scored the game's first run to take an initial lead. In the top of the second, Cody Thomas led off with a double. Three pitches later, Connor Wong brought Thomas home when he delivered a second consecutive two-base hit.
The two teams traded home runs through the game's middle innings. The Hooks tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth on a solo shot from Jake Adams.
Wong put the Drillers back in front briefly when he led off the sixth with his ninth Double-A homer, but the Hooks Stephen Wrenn answered with his seventh of the season in the bottom half of the sixth, tying the game at 2-2.
The Drillers went back in front with a pair of runs in the seventh. The rally began with one-out singles from Drew Avans and Jeter Downs. From there, three consecutive walks to Chris Parmelee, Thomas and Wong brought home the two runs to put Tulsa back in front at 4-2.
But, Wrenn struck again in the bottom of the eighth for the Hooks. Jonathan Arauz singled and Wrenn deposited his second homer of the night beyond the left field fence to tie the game at 4-4.
It remained tied until the tenth inning. With placed runner Omar Estevez at second base, Rincon belted the second pitch of the inning just inside the left field foul pole. It was Rincon's tenth Double-A homer of the season, and it gave the Drillers a 6-4 lead.
This time, relievers Shea Spitzbarth and Nolan Long made sure the lead held. Spitzbarth recorded the first out before Long came on to strike out Wrenn and retire J.J. Matijevic on an infield pop out to pick up his sixth save of the season.
WHAT YOU MISSED
*Spitzbarth allowed just one hit in two scoreless innings to get the win. The victory improved his record to 3-3.
*Wong finished with three hits and has now recorded three hits in six of his past seven games. His home run was his 24th of the season. He has hit 9 since joining the Drillers and had 15 for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.
*Tulsa starting pitcher Leo Crawford lasted 5.1 innings, surrendering two runs on four hits. The lefthander struck out five and was not involved in the decision.
*The Drillers announced a roster move prior to the game. Relief pitcher Marshall Kasowksi was placed on the Injured List, and reliever Sven Schueller was added from Rancho Cucamonga. Schueller made his debut and surrendered Wrenn's two-run homer in the eighth. The right-hander worked two innings, striking out four.
UP NEXT: Tulsa at Corpus Christi, Sunday, September 1, at 2:15 PM at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi. RHP Markus Solbach (4-1, 3.15 ERA) versus RHP Brandon Bailey (4-5, 3.50 ERA).
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