Tyler Norrick Bails out the Cardinals

The Springfield Cardinals got bailed out by Tyler Norrick in the ninth inning, holding on for a 5-4 win over the Corpus Christi Hooks in the opening game of a three-game set at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi.

Norrick entered a 5-3 game with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, after Cards' closer Francisco Samuel walked the first three hitters he faced to open the final frame.

The first man Norrick faced was lead-off hitter Josh Flores, who grounded sharply back to the mound. Norrick bobbled the come-backer and was only able to get the out at the plate for the first out of the inning. Drew Meyer followed by looking at strike three for the second out. Drew Locke, who leads the Texas League in RBIs, picked up his 55th of the year, singling to right field. With a drawn-in Springfield outfield, right fielder Antone DeJesus fielded the ball quickly and fired a strike to the plate. Corpus Christi Manager Luis Pujols held the potential tying run at third, stopping Jimmy Von Ostrand from attempting to score. That gave Norrick one more opportunity, finally getting pinch-hitter Jonathan Fixler to foul out to first baseman Steven Hill to end the game, giving Norrick his fourth save of the year.

The ending slightly overshadowed another solid performance from Trey Hearne (4-1), who got the win and also cranked a three-run homer, the first Cards' pitcher to homer in more than two years.

Up 1-0 in the fourth, Hearne ripped a 1-0 fastball from Corpus Christi starter Sergio Perez (3-5) down the left-field line, giving Springfield a 4-0 lead.

Matt Arburr gave the Cards another big run, as he connected for a solo shot to left field in the fifth, his second homer at the Double-A level, making it a 5-0 game.

Hearne gave up back-to-back singles with two outs in the fifth, as Flores and Meyer each knocked in a run to make it 5-2. Hearne escaped the fifth with the bases loaded, allowing a total of two runs on six hits over five frames.

Corpus got a run against Brad Furnish in the seventh to make it a two-run game at 5-3. Pete Parise came into the seventh and delivered, retiring Drew Locke with a runner at third to end the inning. Parise followed with a 1-2-3 eighth inning, striking out a pair.

Samuel opened the ninth inning, looking for his team-leading 12th save of the year, but gave way to Norrick after walking all three batters he faced.

Springfield (28-19) is now four games up on Tulsa (24-23), after the Drillers blew a seven-run lead in the eighth inning on Saturday night vs Midland. The Redbirds will look to make it four out of five on the current road trip, sending Ryan Kulik (1-2) to the mound against Hooks' right-hander Casey Hudspeth (3-4) on Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m.

The Redbirds will return to Hammons Field on Wednesday, June 3rd, when they open a six-game home stand. Tickets are available for the upcoming home stand, by calling (417) 863-2143 or online at springfieldcardinals.com.

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