March 21, 2009

ISLANDERS CLAIM FIRST SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE WIN OF SEASON

The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi baseball team received clutch hitting and solid pitching Saturday afternoon as the Islanders downed McNeese State 6-4 at Chapman Field to earn their first Southland Conference win of the season. The Islanders will go for the series win tomorrow at 1 p.m.

The Islanders improve to 7-16 on the season and are now 1-7 in the Southland. The Cowboys are 2-6 in the league and 10-10 overall.

"We have been hunting for our first Southland Conference win for awhile," said Islander head coach Scott Malone. "I told the guys after the game this win really means something. This wasn't just a good day at the ballpark it is bigger than that."

Martin Parra continued his strong play driving in five runs for A&M-Corpus Christi and has now driven the game-winning run in each of the team's last three wins. Weston Montgomery drove in the final run with a two-out single in the sixth.

"Martin's really been carrying us at the plate with his RBI production and did it again today," said Malone. "That being said I thought Weston's hit with two outs was the biggest we had in the game coming with two outs."

A&M-Corpus Christi struck first in the bottom of the first innings. Parra continued a strong week with a three-run home run.

McNeese State tied the game in the top of the second. After Nick Eubanks recorded an RBI single, Ryan Brauninger belted his second two-run home run of the series to knot the game at three.

The Cowboys took their first lead with a single run in the top of the third inning. Shon Landry led off the inning with a single and after a base hit by Taylor Freeman crossed the plate on a hit by Eubanks.

Parra picked up his fourth RBI in the bottom of the third to tie the game at four. Jon Reyes walked to start the inning and went to third on a single by Stephen Flora. With one away, Parra hit a sacrifice fly ball to left to drive in Reyes.

A&M-Corpus Christi took the lead with a run in the bottom of the fifth as Parra struck again. With one away, Flora walked and went to second on a ground out by Jacob Perales. He crossed the plate as Parra singled to right.

The Islanders pushed their lead to 6-4 with a two-out run in the sixth. Justin Greiner began the rally with a double. He came around to cross the plate with a single by Weston Montgomery.

After McNeese scored four runs on seven hits in three innings off starter Roy Ferdin, Brett Carnline tossed six innings of one-hit baseball without allowing a run. Carnline walked two and struck out two.

"Roy pitched his way out of the jam, but, with as aggressive as McNeese is at the plate, we thought we needed to change our approach," said Malone. "Carnline has been more effective recently and it is because he pitches around the plate instead of in the strike zone. We hadn't shown them that this weekend it slowed McNeese down."

Jonathan Conrad took the loss for the Cowboys giving up all six runs on hits and three walks. Tommy Luce held the Islanders at bay over the final two innings.