Friday, July 30, 2010

Corpus Christi Hooks Drop Midland 4-3 in Texas League Action

(Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loco Photography, Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved)

By Robert H. Kelly
Copyright 2010 TexSport Publications

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (July 30, 2010) After a 9th inning surge by the Midland Rockhounds that saw the bases loaded with one out, the Corpus Christi Hooks hung on to defeat the Midland 4-3 before 7,638 fans at Whataburger Field.

Corpus Christi is now 47-57 on the season while Midland posts a 55-49 record.

The Hooks jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st inning on a David Cook sacrifice fly to score Michael Affronti from third. Affronti hit a triple off Rockhound pitcher Anthony Capra to get the first hit of the game.

Catcher Jonathon Fixler put the Hooks up 2-0 on a homerun on a 3-2 count in the bottom of the third. It was his 5th round tripper of the season.

In the top of the 5th, a line drive by Midland catcher Gabriel Ortiz hit Hooks pitcher Jeremy Johnson in the right thigh, bring the fans at Whataburger field to their feet. He quickly recovered; headed to first to get the out on a throw by first baseman Jimmy VanOstrand.

Fixler contributed to contribute on a 5th inning RBI, which scored third baseman Jhon Florentino from 2nd base. Filxer picked up the RBI on the single; advance to second on the throw by Rockhounds left fielder Val Majewski.

Midland finally got a hit in the top of the 6th on a single by shortstop Josh Horton. They picked up their second hit of the game on the very next batter, when 3rd baseman Adrian Cardenas got a single, advancing Horton to second.

Alex Valdez then hit a drive the right field, getting on base and sending Horton home for Midland’s first run of the night.

Midland gained its second run of the evening when Gabriel Ortiz advanced to first on an error by Florentino; scoring right fielder Matt Sulentic

Right fielder Jon Gaston was charged with a throwing error, allowing Valdez and Cardenas to advance to second and third, respectively. The error was Gaston’s first of the season.

Pitcher Jeremy Johnson finally got out of the inning, fanning 1st baseman Shane Peterson and center fielder Archie Gilbert to close out the 6th.

Things fell apart in the top of the 9th went relief pitcher Evan Englebrook gave up singles to Gilbert and Matt Sulentic, a walk to Ortiz and an RBI single to Weeks to load the bases and score Gilbert from third.

Corpus Christi got the second out of the inning on a fielder’s choice single, with a throw to home by Van Ostrand. They closed out the inning and the game on a fly to Martinez in left field.

Starter Jeremy Johnson was given the win, while Englebrook was credited with the save. The Rockhounds Anthony Capra earned the loss.

With the trade of Roy Oswalt to the Philadelphia Phillies a done deal and of Lance Berkman obviously headed to the New York Yankees; it is clear that the Houston Astros are attempting, and I do mean attempting, to build for the future.

With the minor league season having a scant 38 days remaining, there is a possibility that some of these Corpus Christi Hooks may be brought up to fill out the Astros 40-man roster as their season winds down.

Gaston, along with pitchers Jordan Lyles and Chia-Jen Lo, all who play for the Hooks were three of my pre-season prospects as future stars for the Astros.

Tonight, Gaston went 0-4 with two strikeouts while Lo and Lyles did not see action.

The Hooks will face off again against Midland tomorrow with a 7:05pm start.

Texas A&M-Kingsville quarterback Daniel Ramirez was in the stands to support the Hooks on Friday evening. (Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loco Photography, Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved)

Readers can view this article on "Bleacher Report" by clicking here.

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