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Hooks, Express, V-Cats, In That Order

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Hunter Pence is the f***ing man
With Round Rock on a travel day in their playoff series with Tucson, and with the rubber game of the New York-Penn League championship series rained out last night, the only Astros affiliate in playoff action last night were the Hooks.

But it was a good night for them, anyway, as Corpus Christi, keyed by three doubles from Hunter Pence, rolled to a 9 - 3 victory over Wichita.

The game was never in doubt as Corpus scored early and often against the Wranglers. The score was 6 - 0 after two, and winner Chance Douglass stressed how the early lead chilled him out, allowed him to relax and concentrate on making pitches.

Pence now leads Texas League playoff participants in RBI with nine, and is second to teammate Tike Redman with six runs scored.

Perhaps the only worrisome element of Game Three was the Wichita ninth, during which Greg Lubanski and Alex Gordon took Corpus closer Paul Estrada deep in back-to-back at bats. Good players, yes, but Estrada was the loser of Game Two on Tuesday, so Hooks backers might wish for another runaway score tonight, so that the recently shaky Estrada is not tested.

The victory gives Corpus a 2 - 1 lead in the series and will allow them to clinch the Texas League title with their next victory in the best of five series. Troy Patton will start tonight's Game Four, and if he is unsuccessful, I have to imagine Juan Gutierrez would come back for the deciding Game Five.

Both games would be in South Texas.

The typically excellent story on TLCS Game Three from Greg Rajan at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times can be found here, and this would be the place to find the story at

Round Rock will get back into action tonight, this time at the Dell Diamond, as the best-of-five PCL Championship Series switches to Central Texas for its duration. Tucson swept both their home games, and the Express now need a three-game home sweep to collect the PCL title. Philip Barzilla will start for Round Rock against Austin native Ross Ohlendorf at 7:05 CST.

Also tonight--hopefully--will be the deciding game of the New York-Penn League Championship Series between Tri-City and Staten Island. Continuing rains in the New York City area postponed last night's scheduled game, and have cast into doubt tonight's game as well. If the game does start, it will be the V-Cat's best pitcher in Chris Salamida taking the mound for Tri-City.

Go Express, Go Hooks, Go V-Cats!