RockHounds Rally Comes up Short
The start of Thursday night's game between the RockHounds and Corpus Christi was delayed by newly two hours when a thunderstorm rolled through, pushing the first pitch back to 8:53. By 8:54, the Hooks had a 1-0 lead and were on their way to a four-run top of the first. The early advantage would stand, barely, as the Hooks took the opener of a four-game series, 6-5, at Security Bank Ballpark.
The ultimate difference in the game would be a solo home run produced in a match-up of high-profile prospects. Hooks first baseman Seth Beer (the Houston Astros' # 8 prospect) lifted an opposite field solo home run against A.J. Puk (# 2 on Oakland's list and # 35 in all of Minor League Baseball) leading off the sixth inning. From there, Puk was dominant (hitting 98 mph), with just an infield single and four strikeouts against the next six batters, but Beer's drive would provide the winning margin when the game was in the books.
Trailing, 6-2, in the seventh, the RockHounds cut into the deficit on a single from Nate Mondou and an RBI double to right-center off the bat of Kevin Merrell. Dairon Blanco led off the eighth with a walk and Chase Calabuig capped a big night with a towering home run over the wall in right-center, cutting the Hooks' lead to 6-5.
Taylor Motter followed Calabuig's homer with a single to right, still with no outs (and Merrell walked with one out in the ninth), but the 'Hounds couldn't produce the equalizer.
Blanco and Calabuig provided the bulk of the RockHounds' offense. Dairon scored three runs and Chase drove him in each time, finishing with the first 4-RBI game of his pro career (see below for more on both guys).
Texas League South
Amarillo defeated the RoughRiders, 5-3, at Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, in the opener of their four-game series.
The RockHounds (12-9) lead Amarillo (10-11) by two games ... Corpus Christi (9-12) by three and Frisco (8-12) by 3½ games.
Dairon Blanco added to a pair of impressive totals Thursday. His fly ball in the first inning was lost in the lights by Hooks centerfielder Stephen Wrenn and dropped for a triple. While he certainly got a great break on the play, the three-bagger was Dairon's 12th of the season, pushing him past teammate Luis Barrera (currently on the Injured List) and into the Texas League lead.
Updating a number we included here yesterday, the RockHounds now have a team total of 42 triples, 23 of them from Blanco (12) and Barrera (11). The Northwest Arkansas Naturals have 27 (second in the league) and the Hooks (who had a pair of triples Thursday) now have 26. No other TL club has more than 17, so the "team" of Dairon Blanco and Luis Barrera would rank fourth in the league!
Dairon also stole his 26th base (third in the TL) in 32 attempts (81%).
Chase Calabuig has now hit in four consecutive games, going 6-for-15 (.400) with four runs, two doubles, a home run and six RBI.
Chase continues to be one of the great "storylines" of the RockHounds' 2019 season. He was called up from (A) Beloit) in April to "temporarily" fill the roster spot created when Luis Barrera went to the IL (for the first time). He basically made it impossible for the A's to punch his ticket back to the Midwest League and is now hitting .283 with 32 RBI in 63 games with the RockHounds. Selected by Oakland in the 27th round of the 2018 draft (San Diego State University), the outfielder/first baseman ranks seventh in the Texas League with a .374 on-base percentage and is 13th in the league in batting average.
Making the story all the more "cool" from a RockHounds' perspective, Chase was scouted and signed by Anthony Aliotti , one of the most outstanding players in the two decades of the A's / RockHounds affiliation. Now scouting for Oakland, "Ali" holds the distinction of being one of just 13 hitters in Texas League history (more than 130 years) to win the "Percentage Triple Crown." In 2013, he led the TL in batting (.350), slugging (.541) and on-base percentage (.452) ... a truly remarkable accomplishment ... and his .350 average ranks sixth all-time in franchise history.
Ma Nature ... You Gotta Love Her!
Wednesday's series finale between the RockHounds and Amarillo started at 6:30 p.m. ... it was 101-degress at first pitch ... the time of game was just 2:15 ... and it was still light when the teams left the diamond at 8:45. Thursday's game STARTED at 8:53 ... in 76 degrees.
Norge Ruiz has been reassigned to the RockHounds from (AAA) Las Vegas and Charles Hall has returned to the Arizona Rookie League.
Norge opened the season with the RockHounds and was 0-1, with a 2.38 earned run average in six relied appearances. In 19 bullpen appearances with the Pacific Coast League Aviators, the 25-year-old right-hander was 2-3, with a 9.08 ERA (35.2 IP, 62 H, 14 BB, 24 K).
Charles Hall, who was drafted just last month by Oakland, made one appearance with the RockHounds - - just his fourth game as a pro.
Friday, July 12 vs. Corpus Christi Hooks
Security Bank Ballpark 7:00 p.m. (Gates open 6:00)
Adult Jersey Night
- Second of a four-game series and fifth of a seven-game homestand
- Radio: NewsTalk 550 with Bob Hards ... airtime 6:47 p.m.
CC: J.B. Bukauskas (RH, 0-4, 6.33)
RH: Brian Howard (RH, 7-5, 2.75)
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Texas League Stories from July 12, 2019
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- Bolanos Pitches Past RoughRiders - Amarillo Sod Poodles
- Naturals Even Series as Kennedy Picks up Win 1,000 - Northwest Arkansas Naturals
- Burke's Impressive Outing Comes up Short against Amarillo - Frisco RoughRiders
- Tulsa Falls to Northwest Arkansas - Tulsa Drillers
- Sod Poodles' Andres Munoz Receives First Call-Up by San Diego Padres - Amarillo Sod Poodles
- Hooks Win MiLB's June 'Promo of the Month' Award - Corpus Christi Hooks
- Hooks Hold in Series Opener - Corpus Christi Hooks
- RockHounds Rally Comes up Short - Midland RockHounds
- Cardinals Top Travs 6-4 in Opener - Springfield Cardinals
- Soddies Set Tone Early in Series Opener - Amarillo Sod Poodles
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