Sports - Hooks

Apr 11, 2014 12:11 AM by Corpus Christi Hooks

Hooks Rally Late, Win Sixth Straight

CORPUS CHRISTI - Dan Winkler no-hit the Corpus Christi Hooks for six-plus innings Thursday night at Whataburger Field.

When things went south for Winkler and the Tulsa Drillers, it happened quickly. The result was Corpus Christi's sixth consecutive triumph.

The Hooks sent eight men to the plate during a four-run, four-hit seventh against Winkler and Carlos Hernandez in a 6-0 home-opening triumph before 6,658.

Nolan Fontana's lead-off base-on-balls and a single to right by Andrew Aplin forced Winkler from the mound in the wake of 87 pitches; the right-hander entered Thursday on a 90-pitch limit. He retired 16 consecutive hitters before Fontana worked a 3-1 walk.

Matt Duffy greeted Hernandez with an RBI single to left and Preston Tucker followed suit. Enrique Hernandez's bunt single loaded the bases for Leo Heras, whose ground ball pushed Duffy across. Hernandez later scored on an errant throw.

Winkler (0-1), who walked two and fanned three, threw 58 strikes.

The outburst made a winner of Luis Cruz (2-0), who permitted four hits, walked two and struck out four over three innings.

The Hooks added a pair off Nate Striz in their last turn at bat, Aplin and Duffy picking up RBIs.

Tulsa had the makings of a threat in the second but came up empty. Ryan Casteel looped a single to right and was erased when Tyler Massey bounced into a 6-4-3 double play. It was a fortuitous development for the Hooks, as Brian Humphries then doubled over the head of center fielder Delino DeShields, Jr.

Humphries was gunned at the plate by Fontana on a fielder's choice throw from deep in the hole at short.

The fifth looked promising for the Drillers as well, but another twin killing took Hooks starter Ross Seaton off the hook. Humphries opened the frame with a bunt single and advanced to the keystone as Harold Riggins grounded out. Joey Wong's walk and a single by Delta Cleary, Jr., loaded the bases for Taylor Featherston, who hit a 3-0 offering into a 5-4-3 DP.

That was all for Seaton after five hits, a walk and six strikeouts. Forty-six of his 67 pitches were strikes.

Cruz benefited from an alert play by battery mate Rene Garcia to escape the sixth. With two away, Humphries at the plate, Cristhian Adames (lead-off single) on second and Casteel (walk) at first, Garcia's snap-throw caught Casteel upright returning to the bag. Casteel drifted off the base at the sight of Cruz's pitch in the dirt.

Tulsa's Jon Gray (0-1) meets Matt Heidenreich (0-0) Friday when the teams reconvene at 7:10. Bud Light Friday Fireworks light up the skies at the Port of Corpus Christi.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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