CORPUS CHRISTI — The Hooks, sitting in third place in the South Division of the Texas League, went into the match-up with the Arkansas Travelers with both clubs at a record of 19-25; the starter for the Hooks was Jake Buchanan, the same player whose last outing was an 11-4 loss against the San Antonio Missions. The Hooks started off hot from the very beginning, scoring five runs, the first two via two doubles from Austin Wates, and Jonathan Singleton, a Jose Martinez single and Jonathan Villar taking one for the team, getting hit by the pitch; offensive potency was capped off by a three run bomb from Brandon Barnes, a 416ft bomb to be exact, his fifth home run of the year.
Barnes was not the only Hooks player to go yard in this game, in the fourth inning, with two outs and one on, Jonathan Villar cranks a 396ft two run bomb, after a Jair Fernandez base-knock that tallied another run for the Hooks, scoring Austin Wates for a two RBI’s for Villar, lifting the Hooks to an 8-1 blowout lead. The Hooks would score again, for the final time, in the fifth inning, making the game 9-1, the blowout in their favor.
Behind the early run support, Buchanan pitched 8 innings, allowing only one run on only five hits to the Travelers; going for the the first complete game of the year for the Hooks in the ninth inning, the clock seemed to hit midnight for the young hurler on the mound, he gave up three straight hits, a single, a double, then another single that scored a run, Manager Keith Bodie made a visit to the mound. After the pep talk from Bodie, Buchanan recorded his first out of the inning by having Travelers’ catcher Carlos Ramirez fly out to the center fielder, Brandon Barnes; then disaster struck, two back to back errors committed by the Hooks infield allowed two baserunners on and a run to score, cutting the deficit down to eight.
After the errors, Bodie decides to give Buchanan a rest, calling in reliever Josh Zeid, Buchanan received a standing ovation from 5,669 fans in attendance for the game as he walked off the field, but celebration was a bit too soon, and almost on cue, Zeid throws two wild pitches that get by Hooks’ catcher Jair Fernandez, allowing two more runs to score, earned runs credited to Buchanan despite the errors by Zeid. The Travelers managed to tally up those four before Zeid regained his control and struck out the final two batters to seal the victory for the Hooks and earn himself another save.
The Hooks improve to 20-25, seven games behind league leading Frisco, while the Travelers fall to 19-26.
Overall, a solid, much improved outing from Buchanan, he retired 13 consecutive Travelers from the second through sixth innings. His six-inning pitch count was 68 and his first three-ball count of the night came in Roberto Lopez’ seventh-inning plate appearance.
Buchanan walked one and fanned four batters. He threw 104 pitches, 76 for strikes.
The second game of the series features a duel of righties, Arkansas’ Eddie McKiernan (3-2) vs. Hooks ace Jarred Cosart (2-2).