SAN ANTONIO The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi baseball team dug itself a hole early Friday night at Roadrunner Field against preseason favorite UTSA falling behind 9-0 before recovering to tie the game at nine in the eighth inning.
The Roadrunners however pulled out the victory with a run with two outs in the ninth.
A&M-Corpus Christi (9-18, 1-9) fell behind 9-0 after three innings before chipping its way back into the contest. The Islanders would score four runs in the fourth two in the sixth and three in the top of the eighth to tie the game at nine.
UTSA (15-8, 7-3) would rally for the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth after the Islanders went down in order in the top half of the inning. The Roadrunners' Jose Hernandez began the bottom of the ninth by walking and went to second a sacrifice bunt by Aaron Powell. After reliever Brett Gibson (0-1) picked up the second out of the inning by popping up Ryan Rummel and Jason Mohn walked, Lance Brown picked up his third hit of the evening with a single to right driving in Johnston to end the game.
Trailing 9-0 after three innings, the Islanders started chipping away at their deficit.
In the top of the fourth, TAMUCC rallied for four runs on five hits with two outs off Red Patterson. Trey Hernandez sparked the offense with a solo home run to right field for his seventh of the season. Jonathan Reyes followed with a double and scored on a flare to left by Justin Greiner. The Islanders loaded the bases as Brycen Bell singled and Jeramie Marek walked. Flora's two-run single capped the inning.
A&M-Corpus Christi plated a pair of runs in the top sixth to pull within 9-6. Bell and Marek opened the inning with consecutive singles. Reliever Casey Selsor loaded the bases by walking the first batter he faced in Flora. Jacob Perales brought in the first run with a productive out, while Martin Parra drove in the second run with a single to left.
The Islanders pulled even in the eighth. Selsor walked Bell and Marek to start the inning. Zach Calhoon (3-1) replaced Selsor and allowed a hit to Flora loading the bases with no outs. After Perales went down on strikes, Jeremy Narvaez was hit by a pitch for the first run. With two away, Trey Hernandez picked up his second and third RBI of the game with a single up the middle.
With the offense clawing back from the 9-0 deficit, the Islanders got solid middle relief from Trevor Foss and Bryant Sparkman. Foss pitched 1-1/3 innings of scoreless baseball, while Sparkman tossed three shutout innings. Gibson was also solid despite allowing the deciding run.
After Jake Liedka worked out of a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the first, the Islanders weren't as fortunate in the second. The Roadrunners erupted for five runs on five hits. Marshal Davis had the big hit with a bases clearing triple off reliever Andrew Longoria to drive in a pair. Davis came home on a sacrifice fly
The hosts made it 9-0 in the third with five runs. Davis picked up two more runs in the third lining a two-out single to plate two and was thrown out attempting to go to second on the throw towards home.
Liedka allowed four runs on four hits and three walks in an inning of work. Longoria tossed 1-2/3 innings allowing five earned runs on four hits.
"I was extremely disappointed with the performance of Liedka and Longoria," said Islander coach Scott Malone. "They really put us in a hole, but I was pleased with how we showed a lot of fight to come back and tie the game. We took it to their No. 1 starter and top reliever.
"We got some really good pitching from Foss, Sparkman and Gibson. We started putting up some zeroes and gave the offense a chance. Even thought Brett gave up the final run I thought he pitched well. Brown's hit was just a good hit.
"You look and see the championship banners in left field for '05, '07 and '08 and that gives them a lot of confidence. UTSA never thought they were going to lose and that is where we want to get."
The Islanders out-hit UTSA 14-13 in the game. Bell led the way with three hits, while Flora, Parra, Hernandez and Reyes each had a pair. UTSA had three players with a trio of hits. Davis was 3-of-4, Mohn, 3-of-4 and Brown 3-of-5.
The two teams continue their series on Saturday at 2 p.m. with a single game on Sunday at 1 p.m.