Tommy Hunter turned in another outstanding outing for the Roughriders en route to picking up his third win of the season.
The 255-pound righty worked eight innings, allowed two runs on six hits while walking two and striking out four batters. He featured a fastball that ranged from 91-94 mph on the gun, along with some very effective breaking pitches that were heavily used in the latter stages of the game.
Although Corpus jumped on him for a run in their half of the first thanks to a walk, a hit batsman, and a base hit, Hunter looked to be in complete control of the game for the better part of his time on the hill. The outing served as a refreshing rebound following an ugly outing against Midland on June 16th in which Hunter allowed seven runs in just five innings of work.
• With Max Ramirez now in the big leagues, Hunter's battery-mate behind the plate Saturday night was Emerson Frostad. Originally a third baseman, Frostad has seen his position in the field shift around the diamond on numerous occasions, but a boost in playing time behind the dish is likely in his future.
"It'll be me and (Tim) Gradoville now and they said I'll probably be the main guy as long as Max is up there," said Frostad, who threw out a would-be base stealer in the seventh inning.
"I'm pretty excited to get back behind the plate full-time."
Frostad also added a single during a three-run fifth inning for Frisco, and says that his main goal is to get polished up on his catching duties.
"I'm leaving for the Olympics in the end of July, so in these next five weeks or so I just want to work on catching and hopefully get a lot of games in to work on my defense."
• Third baseman Adam Fox added a couple of hits of his own and has seen his average rise from .235 into the neighborhood of .260 over the past week and a half. Saturday marked the fifth multi-hit contest in his last ten ballgames, a span in which the infielder is hitting .333 (!3-for-39).
"I'm just trying to stay with my plan of quality at-bats. I told myself earlier in the year to take things one at-bat at a time, get a good pitch to hit, and let it fly," Fox said of his recent hot streak.
"Sometimes good things happen, and sometimes you hit balls right at guys. But you try to take your ups and your downs and just keep rolling with it. I'm just starting to feel pretty good physically and mentally."
• Usually a middle infielder, Frisco's Casey Benjamin found himself in the unusual role of a first-baseman on Saturday night.
"We just kind of made up a lineup and somehow I got put at first," Benjamin said of his one-night stand at first base.
"I've played there before a couple of years ago so I know the basics of it, but it doesn't really matter as long as I'm out there contributing for the team. That's all that really matters."
Benjamin, who began the year at Triple-A, says that while he'd like to be promoted again it doesn't mean it's his only goal for the remainder of the year.
"I want to play well enough to hopefully earn a promotion, but its not up to me," he added.
"I just take care of what I can."
Benjamin is in the midst of a hot streak as well, hitting .352 (12-for-34) over his last ten ballgames.
• Colorado native Brennan Garr allowed a hit and walked a batter in the 9th inning, but coaxed a game-ending double play off the bat of Corpus Christi's Jose Lopez to seal the victory for Tommy Hunter. Lone Star Dugout caught up with the former supplemental first round draft pick following the game.
John Vittas: What are your thoughts on how you performed out there tonight?
Tommy Hunter: It was fun, you know? Its always fun to go out there and win. Early on in the first inning I kept leaving the ball up and gave up a run unfortunately, but I got a double-play and got out of the inning and from there on it was pretty smooth. I just needed to keep my fastball down and put guys away instead of giving up cheap basehits. Other than that, it was fun.
Vittas: What have you and Terry Clark, your pitching coach, worked on to make you more effective?
Hunter: Right now it's just been getting my fastball down – it's been up the last three or four games. We're just going through some things, doing a couple drills, and trying to get the ball down to set-up your offspeed pitch so you can put hitters away instead of giving up those cheap hits.
Vittas: Earlier this year, you mentioned to us how far your changeup had come. How is it feeling when you throw it out there now?
Hunter: It was fun tonight. I threw it later in the game and actually got about four or five guys to swing over the pitch, and that's all you can ask for. I got three groundballs to the left side of the infield that were simple plays, and there was another close play at first that the baserunner was probably out on, but its questionable. Its really been a work in progress, but we've finally found something that's worked and that I can throw effectively and make it work in a game.
Vittas: Tonight was the fifth time in the your last seven starts that you've gone seven innings or more. What do you attribute that kind of endurance to?
Hunter: It's my defense making plays behind me. When you've got a team like this making plays in the field behind you, you're going to go seven or eight innings every time. It's also just going out there and throwing strikes. There were two walks out there too, or something like that, and we've got to get rid of those. But I know they're going to make plays behind so its just putting the ball in play and letting them take it from there.
Vittas: With some of the injuries they've had on the big league level, have the Rangers given you any sort of indication on what your future might be with them?
Hunter: I'm just here, I'm here playing baseball. All that stuff will take care of itself. Hopefully it happens, but if it doesn't I can't be disappointed. I'm here playing and just having fun and that's the bottom line.
Instant Analysis: Frisco vs. Corpus (6/21)
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