CORPUS CHRISTI (CC Hooks) - Preston Tucker cracked a two-run homer and Nick Tropeano struck out a team season-best 10 as Corpus Christi edged Midland 5-4 at Whataburger Field Thursday before 5,274.
Tropeano (6-7), who worked six frames and tied a career high for strikeouts, allowed nine hits and walked one. He threw 101 pitches, 68 for strikes. Tropeano, who's won his last three decisions, improved to 2-3 against the RockHounds.
Carlos Quevedo notched his sixth hold with two innings of scoreless relief and Jonas Dufek earned the save despite surrendering a lead-off double in the ninth.
Former Hook Jake Goebbert staked Murphy Smith (8-8) and the RockHounds to a 2-0 first-inning advantage. After D'Arby Myers extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a one-out single up the middle, Goebbert unloaded on Tropeano for his 18th home run of 2013 - a no-doubter to right.
Tucker's two-run shot the other way quickly pulled Corpus Christi even. Smith plunked lead-off man Ronny Torreyes and Tucker followed by blasting an opposite-field shot.
Midland (16-25; 49-62) threatened in the second, but center fielder Domingo Santana fielded Darwin Perez' two-on, one-out single and gunned Max Muncy at the plate, catcher Max Stassi winning the collision. Tropeano then fanned Chad Oberacker.
The RockHounds regained the lead during the third, Tyler Ladendorf's two-out single plating Myers (lead-off single).
It was short-lived, as Erik Castro's two-strike, two-out single to right-center sent Torreyes (lead-off single) home for the 3-3 match.
Vinnie Catricala christened the fourth in style, taking Tropeano's 1-1 offering into the Corpus Christi bullpen.
This time the Hooks (24-17; 66-45) waited an inning before responding with a two-run, two-out rally to forge ahead 5-4. Stassi singled to center, covered the next 180 feet on a pair of wild pitches and tallied when Catricala mishandled Santana's grounder at third. Jonathan Meyer's infield single back through the box scored Santana, who'd stolen second and advanced to third via another Smith wild pitch.
Smith's 96-pitch, five inning performance included eight hits, three earned runs, a walk, four strikeouts and four wild pitches.
With San Antonio's 7-2 loss at Frisco, the Hooks moved into a first-place tie with the Missions in the Texas League South Division second-half race.
Ross Seaton (3-1) pitches for Corpus Christi Friday vs. Zach Neal (7-9). Game time is 7:05 and an appearance by BirdZerk!, presented by CPL Retail Energy, highlights the festivities. Fans enjoy Bud Light Friday Fireworks postgame.