By Pat Turner
Corpus Christi and the Missions had to work overtime Tuesday night.
Although going extra innings prior to playing an 11 a.m. game Wednesday may not have been the ideal situation, the Hooks at least finished the three-hour plus, 13-inning contest on a happy note.
Trent Woodward made that possible by drilling a solo home run for a 2-1 victory.
It was definitely a night that belonged to the pitcher. Corpus Christi’s crew of Francis Martes, Heredia, Aaron West and Brendan McCurry allowed nine hits with 12 strikeouts. The Hooks collected 11 hits, but Luis Diaz, Kyle McGrath, Adam Cimber, Jason Jester held off the majority of the threats until Woodward delivered his blast over the right-field fence off Rafael De Paula.
It appeared the Missions, going extras for the third time in five games, were on their way to keeping the game going or ending with a walk-off in the bottom of the frame.
With one out, Nick Schulz reached on a bunt single and Ryan Miller followed with a base hit. Nelson Ward then lined a single to center and Schulz got the green light from Missions manager Phillip Wellman to come home.
Hooks center fielder Teoscar Hernandez’s throw to catcher Robert Pena prevented the tying run from scoring.
McCurry then struck out Gabriel Quintana to put an end to the marathon.
The tone for the stout pitching was set by Luis Diaz, who scattered six hits through 6 2/3 innings and Martes, who held the Missions to four hits through six innings.
Neither allowed a serious threat until the Hooks pushed across a run in the fifth with a little manufacturing.
An inning later, the Missions tied the score.
Miller began with a single and ended up scoring when Alexi Amarista, who with San Antonio on a rehab assignment, lined a single to right.
Diaz got into a jam in the seventh after giving up a single to Chan-Jong Moon and a walk to Hernandez. One out later, McGrath was called on two get the final out of the inning.
The lefty reliever walked James Ramsay to load the bases, but came back with a strikeout.
The Missions dodged a critical situation in the ninth. With one out, Cimber gave up an infield hit to Hernandez. Alex Bregman then sent a wicked bounce into Jose Rondon’s vicinity. The shortstop tried to make a backhand snag, but the ball zipped past him.
Rondon, however, made amends quickly, scooping up Ramsay’s grounder and starting an inning-ending double play.
In the meantime, Heredia took over for Martes after the seventh and silenced the Missions the next three innings, allowing two hits and striking out four.
Additional strong pitching and defense followed in extras with Jester getting the Missions through the 10th and 11th,
However, Jester had his tense moment. After striking out the first two hitters in the 11th, the Missions’ reliever walked Hernandez. Bregman then sent a liner past Jester for an apparent single.
Ward made a diving snag and flipped the ball to Rendon to get the force at second for the final out.
After both teams went down in order in the 12th, Woodward delivered the crowning blow in the next inning.