Rodriguez Helps Travs Solve Hooks 6-4
Whataburger Field, Corpus Christi, TX - SS Sean Rodriguez broke a tie score with an RBI single in the ninth inning, and Corey Myers followed with a suicide squeeze bunt leading the Arkansas Travelers (26-25, 57-64) to a 6-4 victory over the Corpus Christi Hooks (27-24, 58-63). Rodriguez knocked in Coby Smith with his one-out single, and Myers bunted home Freddy Sandoval who had been intentionally walked. Myers finished with three RBI helping the Travs to their first win in five tries at Whataburger Field and the Travs second win in 11 games against the Hooks. RHP Jeff Kennard (1-0) completed one relief inning and picked up the victory. Travs RHP Darren O'Day (6) struck out two batters and pitched around a leadoff walk in the ninth for the save. Corpus Christi RHP Tim Lavigne (0-1) issued two walks and allowed both runs in the ninth to lose in his Hooks' debut. With Springfield's game at San Antonio postponed until Friday, the Travs are a half-game out of first place. The Tulsa Drillers also were defeated on Thursday moving the Travs to within 2.5 of the North Division wildcard.
Neither starting pitcher figured into the decision. Arkansas RHP Miguel Gonzalez kept his ERA as the Texas League's lowest (2.94) allowing four runs (three earned) on seven base hits and three walks plus two strikeouts in 5.2 innings. Corpus Christi LHP Brian Bogusevic was knocked out after 4.1 innings allowing four runs on seven hits and three walks.
The Hooks caught a few breaks in the bottom of the first inning loading the bases on two bloop singles and a hit batter. Francisco Caraballo followed with a grounder to the shortstop hole that Rodriguez stopped. He whipped the ball to second base just after Ray Sadler slid in allowing a run to score from third for a 1-0 Hooks lead.
Outstanding speed led to the Hooks' scoring in the second inning as Josh Flores hit a one-out flare that landed inside the right-field line and bounced to the right. Flores flew into second base for a double, then with two outs and nobody holding him at second base Flores stole third and scored when C Corey Myers threw the ball into left field for an error. The unearned run put the Hooks ahead 2-0.
The Travs' running game helped in a third-inning rally that saw the Travs take the lead with three runs on three base hits, a walk and three stolen bases. Brad Coon hit a leadoff single, then stole second base before scoring on Coby Smith's double into the left-field corner. After two outs, Bogusevic walked Rodriguez putting runners at the corners. Bogusevic caught Rodriguez running to second base, but 1B Todd Self did not throw the ball and let the stolen base occur to put runners at second and third. Myers followed with a sharp grounder over the mound that skipped by 2B Ed Maysonet's glove for a two-run single and a 3-2 Travs lead.
Bogusevic helped the Travs in the fifth inning by walking two batters and hitting another with one out to load the bases. Michael Collins ran a full count and lined an RBI single to right field for a 4-2 lead. RHP Josh Miller replaced Bogusevic on the mound and got Matt Pali to pop up before catching a break when Cody Fuller hit a hard grounder off the pitcher, which deflected to SS Tommy Manzella for a force play at second base.
Gonzalez held the lead for two innings, then allowed Ray Sadler's 21st home run in the fifth to tie the score at 4-4. With one out, Gonzalez got ahead of Michael Johnson 0-2, but ended up walking him. Sadler followed with his two-run shot to left-center field.
Travs RHP Rafael Rodriguez replaced Gonzalez in the sixth inning with a runner at second base. He got Manzella to fly to center and then dealt a shutout seventh inning. The Travs were quieted by Hooks RHP Josh Miller, who allowed one hit and one walk over 3.2 innings.
Lavigne entered the game with a 4-4 score in the ninth and issued a four-pitch walk to Smith. Adam Morrissey bunted him to second base and Sandoval was issued an intentional walk to bring up Rodriguez. He fell behind 1-2 then lined a sharp single to center chasing in Smith. Sandoval beat a throw to third base and Rodriguez advanced to second. Then Myers dropped a perfect squeeze bunt knocking in Sandoval for a 6-4 lead.
O'Day gave the Hooks a chance by walking the leadoff batter of the ninth inning and bringing the tying run to the plate. He got Todd Self on a fly to shallow center and then struck out Michael Johnson and Sadler to end the game.
Time of game was 3:12 and the paid attendance was 6,537.
To see tonight's boxscore please click this link.
The Travs and Hooks finish their season series on Friday night at Whataburger Field. The Travs plan on RHP Fernando Rodriguez (6-3, 4.02 ERA) pitching against Corpus Christi RHP Miguel Asencio (0-1, 4.57 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.
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