Texas State jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first two innings and the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi baseball team was unable to recover despite another big ninth inning falling 9-6 in the second game of the three-game Southland Conference series between the teams at Whataburger Field on Saturday
The loss was the sixth straight for the Islanders who are now 1-6 on the year and 0-2 on the season. Texas moves to 5-2 on the year and 2-0 in the SLC. The series finale will be tomorrow at 2 p.m.
Texas State scored twice in the first inning as Islander starter Brett Carnline walked two of the first three batters he faced and hit the other to load the bases. Lance Loftin followed with a two-out single after a rare 3-2 double play.
In the second, Texas State added four runs. After Kyle Livingstone walked and Clint Vest was hit by a pitch, Tyler Sibley, who was 2-for-2 and reached base safely six times, singled to load the bases. Carnline looked to get out of the inning with a would-be double play ball to third baseman Martin Parra, but Parra misplayed the ball and then threw it away for two errors on the play as two runs scored. Paul Goldschmidt's double down the left-field line plated the final two runs.
"Carnline is not the type of pitcher to throw a lot of strikes," said Islander head coach Scott Malone. "What he is, is a pitcher who will be around the plate a lot and has the ability to win at this level.
"If with his struggles he gave us a chance. If Martin makes the play with the bases loaded it is only a 2-0 game, but he didn't make the play."
Carnline suffered the loss to fall to 0-3. He was relieve by Brandon Orr, who pitched 2-2/3 innings of relief with out allowing a run.
The Islanders got a run back in the bottom of the third as Stephen Flora tripled to drive in Justin Greiner to make it a 6-1 contest. The run was only one given up Kane Holbrooks. He tossed eight innings of nine-hit baseball without a walk. He struck out four.
The contest would remain 6-1 until the eighth inning when Sibley scored on a bases loaded walk from Brett Gibson after Jake Liedka loaded the bases. In the ninth, Matt Hudec made his first appearance of the season and allowed two runs on two hits. Bryant Sparkman recorded the final by getting Goldschmidt to fly out.
Like Friday night, the Islanders tried to rally in their final at bat but fell short. A&M-Corpus Christi began the final frame began with three straight singles by Jacob Perales, Jeramie Marek, and Weston Montgomery. An error by Clint Vest at short allowed Perales and Marek to plate. Brycen Bell followed with an RBI single to make it a 9-4 game with no outs and the bases loaded as Montgomery raced home.
After Bobcat closer Tyler Brundridge entered, Greiner reached on an error by Loftin at third. A two-run double down the line in left by Flora, who had along with Greiner had a game-high three hits, brought the tying run to the plate in Trey Hernandez. Hernandez, who had a team-best 56 RBI a season ago, ended the game by hitting into a 6-4-3 double play.
"We horrible on offense," said Malone. "We aren't getting enough base runners and when we do we aren't coming with the big hit. A lot of that is Texas State's pitchers. They didn't walk a batter today and have a great command of the strike zone. They force you to hit the baseball."
The Islanders finished with 14 hits. Aside from Flora and Greiner with three base hits, Bell, Parra and Marek each had two. Flora had three runs batted in. The Texas State 1-2-3 hitters combined to go 6-of-11 with each posting two hits.
Malone wants his team to come back and close out the series with a win.
"We have got to see the big picture and come out and get a win Sunday and start putting some together," said Malone. "Losing and how you handle is a test of character."