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Hooks Slip Past Drillers

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TULSA -

Only 24 hours after claiming a season opening victory on a wild pitch, the Tulsa Drillers were on the other end of a similar event Friday night at ONEOK Field.

The Drillers and Corpus Christi played eight scoreless innings before the Hooks plated the game's first run in the top of the ninth on a wild pitch from Tulsa reliever Bruce Kern. The Hooks added a second run later in the inning, while the Drillers plated their lone run in the bottom of the ninth to make things interesting. But, Corpus Christi reliever Alex Sogard was able to escape a two-out jam and preserve a 2-1 victory for the Hooks.

The two teams have now split the first two games of the season with Tulsa claiming a 5-4 win in 11 innings in Thursday's opener.

The game-winning rally for Corpus Christi began when Drillers leftfielder Tim Smalling misplayed a fly ball off the bat of Preston Tucker for a two-base error. Smalling was playing in the outfield for only the third time in his professional career.

After a sacrifice bunt, Enrique Hernandez drew a walk to put runners at first and third. Kern retired Leo Heras on a shallow fly ball to center field for the inning's second out, but then uncorked a wild pitch that resulted in the game's first run. Jio Mier followed with a double that brought Hernandez home and upped the Hooks lead to 2-0.

The hit proved to be big as the Drillers mounted a rally in the bottom of the ninth off reliever Alex Sogard. With two outs and the bases empty, Harold Riggins and Tim Smalling produced consecutive doubles that cut Corpus Christi's lead in half. With the potential game-tying run 180 feet from home plate, Sogard ended the threat and the game by retiring Jayson Langfels on a called strike three.

The Hooks won despite totaling only four hits in the game. Tulsa collected six, with Smalling accounting for three of them.

It looked as if Corpus Christi would actually plate the game's first run in the eighth inning, but Drillers' reliever Nelson Gonzalez pitched out of trouble. Delino DeShields led off the eighth with a base hit and swiped a pair of bases to move to third with no outs. Gonzalez ended the threat by striking out the next three hitters.

Tulsa starter Dan Winkler was outstanding in his first outing of the season. The 2013 California League Pitcher of the Year surrendered only two hits and two walks in 5 1/3 scoreless innings. Winkler threw 70 total pitches, 45 for strikes, and recorded 5 strikeouts.

Hooks starter David Rollins was equally effective, allowing only three hits and two walks. In four innings of work, he struck out six.

Tulsa's Kern left the game with an apparent injury after surrendering the double to Mier in the ninth. He was relieved by Nate Striz who got the final out in the inning.

Defensively, the Drillers committed three errors in the contest.

The game was officially another sellout, with a paid crowd of 7,941.

The Drillers and Hooks will play the third and final game of their season-opening series Saturday night at ONEOK Field. First-round draft pick and University of Oklahoma product Jon Gray will make his Double-A debut on the mound for Tulsa. The Hooks will counter with Luis Cruz. First pitch in downtown Tulsa is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

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