March 10, 2009

ISLANDERS SWEPT BY UTPA IN DOUBLEHEADER

Last week, the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi baseball team traveled to Edinburg and swept Texas-Pan American. On Tuesday, the Broncs returned the favor sweeping the Islanders 8-7 and 17-10 in the nightcap before the game was called due to darkness at Chapman Field.

"It all comes down to momenutm," said Islander head coach Scott Malone. "Even though UTPA is 3-11 it is playing with a lot of momentum and confidence right now. Their pitchers feel like they are going to go out and throw strikes and the offense thinks it will hit the ball.

"We are in a bad rut right now and seem to be finding different was to lose games. I think the guys are playing on their heels because they are afraid something bad will happen. We need to find awa y to get the momentum back."

The first game was a back-and-forth affair with UTPA (3-11) rallying for three runs in the top of the ninth to claim an 8-7 win over the Islanders (4-12).

Reliever Jake Liedka entered in the top of the ninth and allowed a single to Jose Mendoza and walk to Gabriel Salinas before a allowing a sacrifice bunt by Abraham Garcia put down a sacrifice bunt. Garrett Bivone then drew a walk to load the bases.

Bryant Sparkman replaced Liedka and was greeted with a two-run double by Jordan Rutenbar. Salinas would cross the plate on a sacrifice fly to center by Esequiel Garza.

A&M-Corpus Christi tried its own rally in the ninth. With one away, Stephen Flora doubled and Jacob Perales walked. After Martin Parra went down on strikes to Doug Roth for the second out, Justin Greiner walked to fill the bases. Jeramie Marek came into his final at bat 3-for-3, but grounded out to third to end the game.

Marcos Martinez earned the win for the Broncs with Roth getting his first save of the season. Liedka would be credited with his first loss.

The Islanders took the early lead on a two-run home run in the first inning by Martin Parra only to see a throwing error by Trey Hernandez in the third lead to three unearned runs off Brett Carnline for a 3-2 UTPA lead..

An Islander error led to the Broncs' fourth run of the game in the fourth, while the Islanders pulled to within 4-3 in fifth. With no outs, Stephen Flora drove in Chris Famiglietti with a sacrifice fly.

In the sixth frame, both teams traded runs to make the score 5-4.

A&M-Corpus Christi scored the next three runs. Jacob Perales second home run in as many games drove in two runs in the seventh as the Islanders took a 6-5 lead. In the eighth, pinch runner Omar Garcia scored on an error to give the hosts a two-run lead.

The Islanders used four pitchers in the opener. Carnline went three innings allowing three unearned runs on four hits and three walks. Brett Gibson struckout five batters in five innings while scattering four hits and permitting three runs – two earned. Liedka walked two batters in a third of an inning before Sparkman went two-thirds of an inning.

Aside from Marek's three hits, three TAMUCC hitters had two hits apiece. Olivarez, Flora and Perales each had a pair of hits as the Islanders finished with 12 as a team and eight of nine starters had a hit.

In the second game, the Islanders scored 10 runs in the first five innings off Shane Janecka and led 10-7, but UTPA crossed the plate 10 times in their final three at bats off a trio of Islander relievers.

A&M-Corpus Christi jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first. With one out, Flora belted his fourth home run of the season. After an RBI double by Justin Greiner, Parra hit his second two-run blast of the day.

After Bonaham Hough, who had four hits in the nightcap, lined a two-run single in the top of the second, the Islanders tallied single runs in the second and third innings to lead 6-2. Flora, who matched Hough's four hits, drove in Famiglietti with a single in the second, while Marek, who had five hits in the two games, doubled and scored on a Weston Montgomery single.

UTPA, which scored twice in the fourth, took the lead with three runs in the fifth at 7-6 off three Islander relievers.

A&M-Corpus Christi responded in the bottom of the fifth with four more runs off Janecka, who allowed 10 runs on 14 hits in 4-1/3 innings, to regain the lead 10-7. With one away, Trey Hernandez, Marek and Montgomery ripped back-to-back-to-back doubles. After Famiglietti walked, Flora lined a ground-rule double to drive in Montgomery for the third run. Famiglietti came home on a wild pitch by Mike Lankford to end the inning.

Lankford would go on to hold the Islanders scoreless over the final 3-2/3 innings. He scattered five hits and walked two. Meanwhile, the Islander bullpen again struggled down the stretch. Sparkman, who took the loss, permitted five runs with three earned on four hits, while Matt Hudec allowed two unearned runs in an inning of work. Roy Ferdin pitched the last inning allowing three runs on four hits.

Abraham Garcia keyed the charge for the visitors with four hits and four RBI, while Ryan Vest and Hough each had three RBI. UTPA finished with 22 hits as each position player had a hit

The Islanders had 19 hits in the finale, every starter recorded at least one hit except Famiglietti, who walked once and was hit by a pitch.

The Islanders head to Louisiana this weekend for their first Southland Conference road trip of the season as they visit Nicholls for a three-game set beginning on Friday.