March 28, 2009

ISLANDERS CLAIM WIN IN SEE-SAW BATTLE WITH ROADRUNNERS

ISLANDERS CLAIM WIN IN SEE-SAW BATTLE WITH ROADRUNNERS

SAN ANTONIO – The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi baseball team outlasted the UTSA Roadrunners on Saturday in the second game of their three-game set at Roadrunner Field winning 11-10. The two sides have combined for 40 runs in two games with UTSA winning the opening game 10-9.

With the win, the Islanders are now 10-18 overall and claimed their second Southland Conference victory of the season. UTSA falls to 7-4 in the league and 15-9 on the year. The two teams meet in the rubber match of their series Sunday at 1 p.m.

"This was a great win against a really good program," said Islander head coach Scott Malone. "Our offense set the tone early with nine runs in the first three innings, but we really had some big hits late to drive in the final two runs against some good pitchers."

The Islanders capitalized on a pair of walks to score a pair of runs in the first inning. Weston Montgomery led off by drawing a walk from pitcher Kris Ruepke and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Stephen Flora. Montgomery moved to third as Ruepke threw the ball into center field. Following a Jacob Perales walk, Martin Parra gave the visitors the early lead with a two-run double to left-center field.

UTSA answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning off Islanders starter Brandon Orr, who gave up six runs on eight hits in 1-2/3 innings. The Roadrunners loaded the bases with one out bringing Aaron Powell to the plate. Powell belted a grand slam to right field for his fourth homer of thee season.

After the Islanders were unable to score in the top of the second, UTSA made it a 6-2 game with a pair in the bottom of the second. Lance Brown doubled and scored on a grounder, while Michael Rockett doubled to drive in Marshal Davis, who singled.

The Islanders retook the lead with seven runs in the top of the third sending 11 runners to the plate. Trey Hernandez began the scoring with a one-out, two-run home run off Ruepke. With two outs Ernie Olivarez doubled and scored on a triple by Jonathan Reyes. Jeramie Marek kept the scoring going as he singled to plate Reyes. Marek would cross the plated with Montgomery and Flora to give the Islanders a 9-6 advantage.

The Roadrunners tied the game in the bottom of the inning with three runs off reliever Brett Carnline. Carnline permitted three runs on three hits with just one earned as Parra had two errors in the inning.

The game remained tied at nine until Ryan Hutson hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth off Andrew Toppert who was stellar out of the bullpen for the Islanders to earn his first win for the Islanders. He went four innings striking out five batters allowing just the one run.

Freshman Jeramie Marek tied the game in the top of the seventh as he drove in Brycen Bell with a single.

A&M-Corpus Christi regained the lead for the first time since the third inning in the top of the eighth inning and this time did not relinquish it. Flora led off the inning with a walk and, after going to third on a single by Parra, crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly to center.

UTSA tried to rally in the bottom of the ninth. Powell nearly homered again lining a double off the wall in left after several borderline pitches. After the hit, Islander pitching coach Rusty Miller was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. Sparkman would leave the game as Brett Aguilar grounded out to third. Hernandez entered the game recorded the final two outs with strikeouts.

"We got another poor start on the mound, but we got some really good relief pitching," said Malone. "Toppert was excellent and gave us the lift on the mound we needed. Sparkman had a second straight solid outing, while Trey made seven tremendous pitches to end the game. I am not sure if he was pitching or just competing, but he came in and got the job done."

Five Islanders finished with two hits apiece as the team had 12. Perales and Hernandez each drove in three runs with two hits, while Parra, Marek, and Reyes each had a pair. Powell had three of UTSA's 14 hits.

The series will conclude on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Islanders travel to Lamar for a three-game series beginning next Friday in Beaumont.