CORPUS CHRISTI (CC Hooks) - Erik Castro's bases-loaded single up the middle scored Ryan McCurdy from third to give Corpus Christi a 4-3 walk-off victory over Midland Friday at Whataburger Field before 6,924.
It was the 10th walk-off triumph for the Hooks this season, a franchise record. In the process, they captured their 23rd victory in 32 games vs. the RockHounds (23-37; 56-74).
Coupled with Frisco's 4-2 win at San Antonio, Corpus Christi (36-24; 78-52) drew to within a game of the Missions in the Texas League South Division second-half race. The Hooks have already clinched a playoff berth against San Antonio by virtue of their first-half championship.
Jeff Urlaub (2-2) retired the Hooks in order in the eighth but quickly found hot water in the decisive sequence. He walked McCurdy on a 3-2 pitch and Corpus Christi's catcher was sacrificed to second by Ronny Torreyes. Enrique Hernandez was intentionally passed and Urlaub lost Leo Heras after starting him 1-2.
Then came Castro, who'd walked in the first, third and fifth before singling in the seventh. The game-winner came on a 1-2 offering.
It put Jonas Dufek (6-0) in the win column for the sixth time in 11 appearances. The big right-hander also has three saves.
Midland mounted a one-out threat right off the bat against Mike Foltynewicz. Darwin Perez worked a walk and moved into scoring position when Jefry Marte singled. Marte was gunned at second by McCurdy on the back end of a double steal attempt after Dusty Coleman whiffed to begin an inning-ending double play.
RockHounds starter Drew Granier recorded two quick outs in the third but allowed the next four men to reach via three free passes and a double. Heras' two-bagger pushed Hernandez 90 feet from the pay station and walks by Castro and Jonathan Meyer made it 1-0 Corpus Christi.
Conner Crumbliss' gentle two-out liner off the glove of Torreyes at short plated Chad Oberacker (walk) and Vinnie Catricala (single) as Midland moved ahead 2-1 during the fifth. Foltynewicz then walked Perez before Marte's single to left scored Crumbliss.
Foltynewicz, who exited with the bases loaded in favor of Carlos Quevedo, surrendered four hits, four walks and struck out four.
Granier completed five frames, permitting just two hits. He walked five and struck out six.
His relief, Blake Hassebrock, was unceremoniously greeted by Matt Duffy's fourth home run, a first-pitch no-doubter to left.
The Hooks played extra-base ball, small ball and accepted charity while equalizing in the seventh. Torreyes doubled and was sacrificed to third by Hernandez. Facing Castro, Hassebrock uncorked a two-out wild pitch.
Corpus Christi right fielder Preston Tucker came up big defensively. The former Florida Gator logged two inning-ending assists. He nabbed Oberacker with a throw to McCurdy to keep Midland off the board in the sixth and Crumbliss at second as the RockHounds left fielder attempted to stretch a single in the ninth.
The Hooks begin a seven-game road trip in San Antonio Saturday through Monday. Ruben Alaniz (7-8) pitches for Corpus Christi in the opener vs. Eddie Bonine (3-3).