March 5, 2009

ISLANDERS UNABLE TO STEM TIDE IN 10-2 LOSS TO ALABAMA IN WCC OPENER

The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi baseball team scored the first two runs of the 2009 Whataburger College Classic, but could not hold off Alabama who scored the final 10 runs to claim a 10-2 win over the Islanders on Thursday.

The Islanders took an early 2-0 lead with single runs in the second and third innings off Alabama starter Miers Quigley, who lasted 2-1/3 innings.

"We need to become a more consistent team," said Islander head coach Scott Malone. "Alabama isn't more talented than us. They just play at a lot more consistent level. For us to be the team we can be we have to develop consistency."

In the second inning, Trey Hernandez belted his third home in as many games to lead off the inning. In the third, the Islanders manufactured their run off the Crimson Tide. With one away, Stephen Flora singled and scored on a double to the deepest part of the ballpark by Jacob Perales. Martin Parra followed with a one out single but he and Perales were both left stranded.

From that point on, a trio of Crimson Tide hurlers held A&M-Corpus Christi scoreless, while scattering three hits and seven strikeouts. Austin Evans, who claimed the win, allowed one hit over 2-2/3 innings while striking out four. Casey Kebodeaux went three innings scattering two hits with a strikeout and Austin Graham was perfect in the ninth.

Meanwhile, the Alabama offensive scored runs in five of its last six trips to the plate. After scoring single runs in the third and fourth innings off Islander starter Brett Carnline, the Tide received a pair of solo home runs off reliever Phillip Garcia, who suffered the loss, from Taylor Dugas and Ross Wilson in the fifth to take a 4-2 lead.

Matt Hudec entered for the Islanders in the fifth and allowed three runs on two hits and walk without recording an out before Andrew Longoria entered and allowed the final run of the inning. Trevor Foss pitched a perfect seventh before allowing the final two runs in the eighth.

"Brett was a lot closer to the pitcher we thought he would be when he came here," said Malone. "He needs to see the big picture and build upon this. He still has a lot to work on like finishing off innings and batters, but this was a big step.

"Phillip and Trevor are both freshman who are talented but we need them to continue working and develop more consistency."

Alabama finished with 15 hits with Josh Rutledge and Wilson, who drove in three runs, each posting three. Taylor Odle and Wes Henderson finished with two apiece.

Parra raised his average to .415 on the season with a 2-for-4 performance as the Islanders had eight hits.

The Islanders are off on Friday before facing both Texas-Pan American and Alabama on Saturday in the Whataburger College Classic. The game with UTPA is at 1 p.m., while they face the Tide at 5 p.m.