CORPUS CHRISTI (CC Hooks) - Home runs by Preston Tucker and Jio Mier off Jonathan Cornelius keyed a four-run fifth as Corpus Christi cruised past Springfield 9-1 before 5,107 at Whataburger Field Sunday.
At 8-2, the Hooks are off to their best start ever.
Tucker, whose walk-off hit gave Corpus Christi a 3-2 decision over Tulsa Saturday night, planted a one-out, full-count fastball on the left-field berm. Mier's first-pitch fastball blast to the Goodwill Zone came with Enrique Hernandez (single) and Tyler Heineman (double) aboard.
Cornelius (0-2) surrendered 11 hits over 4 2/3 but was plagued by defensive struggles as three of the eight runs during his shift were unearned.
Corpus Christi hung such a run on Springfield in the first. Delino DeShields, Jr., opened with a single and advanced 180 feet as the result of first baseman Curt Smith's throwing error on a tag play at second. Andrew Aplin's one-out hit to right picked up DeShields.
Another throwing miscue - this one by catcher Travis Tartamella - enabled two Hooks second-inning scores. His attempt at a hung-up Heineman retreating to third on Mier's bunt skipped well past the bag. Trailing runner Leo Heras also crossed.
A double steal two innings later made it 4-0 Hooks. With Nolan Fontana at bat, a delayed break by Mier to second prompted Heras' dash from third and the return throw was tardy.
Hooks starter David Rollins withdrew due to injury after just six pitches. He issued a full-count walk to Mike O'Neill before calling for assistance from the dugout and was replaced by Jordan Jankowski. Jankowski induced a 4-6-3 double-play ball off the bat of James Ramsey.
Jankowski went on to toss three scoreless frames. He yielded a hit, a walk and fanned two. Aaron West (2-0) continued the mastery, filing five scoreless innings in which he faced one over the minimum. Ramsey spoiled the shutout by cracking a lead-off homer in the ninth off Travis Ballew.
DeShields' solo homer off Anthony Ferrara in the eighth left the Corpus Christi DH a triple shy of the cycle. Tucker also collected three hits and has hit in eight straight. Hernandez's streak is six games.
The series continues Monday at 7:10 with Hooks left-hander Luis Cruz (2-0) meeting Kurt Heyer (0-1). Mrs Baird's presents $1 Hot Dogs and Soda.