The Corpus Christi Hooks went into Saturday night’s game in San Antonio needing a win to keep their championship hopes alive. The Astros AA affiliate trailed the Padres farm team two games to one in the best-of-five division playoffs. With the wind blowing in at Wolff Stadium this contest quickly turned into a pitchers’ duel.
Corpus Christi right-hander Ruben Alaniz and San Antonio lefty Juan Oramas were both dealing. The game went to the ninth inning with nothing but zeroes on the scoreboard. Alaniz allowed only three hits and one walk in seven innings of work. Oramas matched him for six of those innings, allowing three hits and two walks along the way. Oramas also hit a couple of batters but the Hooks were unable to take advantage.
The Hooks finally put together a rally in the top of the ninth against Missions closer Jeremy McBryde. Ryan McCurdy, who had replaced rehabbing Astros catcher Carlos Corporan an inning earlier, led off the frame with a walk. Then, Jonathan Meyer pushed a bunt up the first base line. McBryde fielded the ball and attempted a throw to first but the ball went sailing into rightfield. McCurdy advanced all the way to third and the Missions were forced to bring their infield in.
Jiovanni Mier was due up next but Hooks manager Keith Bodie called on Michael Burgess to pinch-hit. Mier had been having a tough night. The former first round pick made an error on a tailor-made double play ball in the second inning and failed to get down a sacrifice bunt in the seventh. Bodie’s move payed off. Burgess slapped a grounder through the right side and McCurdy came home with the first run of the evening.
The Hooks were unable to add-on and Alex Sogard came out of the bullpen tasked with protecting the 1-0 lead. Adam Buschini led off the inning with a single to right. Sogard was able to get the first out of the inning when Tommy Medica hit a hard comebacker that bounced off the pitcher’s body.
The second out of the inning was recorded thanks to an incredible play by Ronny Torreyes. The Hooks shortstop ranged deep into the hole and was still able to throw out Jake Blackwood at first. Buschini advanced to third on the play, putting the tying run only ninety feet from home.
With Yeison Asencio at the plate, Sogard bounced a pitch in the dirt, but McCurdy was able to keep the ball from getting far enough away for Buschini to score. Sogard ended up getting the strikeout to notch the save and force a deciding game five.
Edgar Gonzalez, who is rehabbing a sore shoulder and joined the Hooks for Saturday’s game, picked up the win. Gonzalez struck out three and allowed a single in a scoreless eighth inning.
The two teams will face off Sunday evening in Corpus Christi with the winner advancing to the Texas League Championship series against the Arkansas Travelers. David Rollins gets the start for the Hooks and Josh Geer will be on the mound for San Antonio.