CORPUS CHRISTI (CC Hooks) - Jordan Kreke snapped an 0-for-25 skid with an eighth-inning grand slam as Corpus Christi defeated Midland 9-6 Sunday at Whataburger Field before 5,181.
The Hooks improved to 24-12 and hold a five-game lead over second-place San Antonio in the Texas League South Division standings. Midland is 16-19, 7 ½ games back.
Tyler Ladendorf collected four RBIs and starting pitcher Carlos Hernandez yielded three runs and struck out six over six innings for the RockHounds.
Trailing 6-3, the Hooks sent 10 men to bat in the fateful frame. Drew Locke's two-run single pulled Corpus Christi to within a run. With Jacob Goebbert (walk), Kody Hinze (intentional walk) and Adam Bailey (fielder's choice) aboard, Kreke launched his first home run of the campaign to left.
Beau Jones (1-1), the second of three Midland hurlers in the inning, took the loss. Locke drew blood from Paul Smyth and Matt McSwain served up the game-winner.
Ladendorf's eighth round-tripper was a two-run shot off Henry Villar (4-2) in the eighth. Villar began the sequence by striking Dusty Coleman with a pitch, the third hit batsman of the night by Hooks pitching.
Midland forced Hooks starter Asher Wojciechowski and reliever Kevin Chapman to the clubhouse in the midst of a four-run, four-hit sixth. Ladendorf's two-run double augmented Coleman's RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Conner Crumbliss.
Back-to-back singles from Josh Horton and Jeremy Barfield at the top of the frame chased Wojciechowski, who booked two runs, four hits, three walks and five strikeouts in 98 pitches (52 strikes).
Wojciechowski breezed through the third, fourth and fifth after grappling with early command. The RockHounds mounted a fruitless two-out threat in the initial frame. An Anthony Aliotti double, Wojciechowski's plunking of Miles Head and a Horton walk loaded the bases for Barfield, who bounced out to second.
Wojciechowski worked out of another bases-drunk jam during the second. He walked Coleman, permitted a two-out single to Crumbliss and hit Ladendorf, but caught Aliotti looking.
Hinze took a 1-0 Hernandez pitch over the left-field wall for a 2-0 Hooks second-inning lead. Hinze's 11th home run of 2012 came in his 12th July game.
Corpus Christi added a run in the third, Locke's two-out single plating Robbie Grossman (lead-off single). Jon Singleton contributed a base knock in the uprising as well.
Locke (8) and Jose Martinez (6) have hitting streaks for Corpus Christi.
Two lefties meet Monday at 7:05 in the series finale. Rob Rasmussen (1-2) takes the ball for Corpus Christi against Fabio Castro (1-2).
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