March 19, 2010

ISLANDERS BASEBALL STORM PAST NICHOLLS IN SEVEN

The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi baseball team pounded out 17 hits including three home runs as it stormed past Nicholls 14-3 in seven innings in the first game of a three-game Southland Conference series at Chapman Field on Friday.

With the run-rule victory, A&M-Corpus Christi improved 9-8 overall and evened its Southland mark at 2-2. Nicholls dropped to 11-6 overall and 2-2 in the SLC. It was the first time since the 2007 season that the Islanders run-ruled an opponent in Southland action. They did it three times that season including back-to-back games against Nicholls the last time they accomplished the feat.

"We did everything well today," said Islander head coach Scott Malone. "I am really pleased considering how disappointed we were after Wednesday's loss to Houston Baptist. The reason we were so upset as coaches is we think we can be a really good team and we showed that today.

"Most importantly, we did that against a team that is really good. Nicholls was 2-0 after two games with Lamar last weekend."

Nicholls jumped out to a pair of early leads versus the Islanders. A&M-Corpus Christi responded quickly each time.

The Colonels scored an unearned run in the first off Roy Ferdin, but the Islanders tallied a pair of two-out runs. After Weston Montgomery singled, Trey Hernandez drove him in with a double. Hernandez crossed the plate on a single to right by Chris Vergne.

The visitors retook the lead off Ferdin (2-1) in the top of the second 3-2 with a pair of runs, but would not score again. Ferdin would toss a seven-inning complete game. It was the first by an Islander since the 2008 season when Omar Gutierrez went nine innings against UTSA. The junior scattered eight hits over seven innings allowing three runs with two earned, while walking one and striking out one. He allowed four hits in his final five innings of work with just one runner advancing to second.

"Roy was excellent on the mound today and it makes things a lot easier on the pitcher when you play good defense," said Malone. "It is a different game when you get good defense."

A&M-Corpus Christi took the lead for good in the bottom of the second with three runs off Jarret Dunnam. Second baseman Bobby Buckner began the inning with a solo home run to right-center field for his first as an Islander. Cory Ege doubled to drive in Jacob Perales before giving the Islanders a 4-3 advantage when he scored on a wild pitch.

After neither team scored in the third or fourth innings, the Islanders erupted for six in the bottom of the forcing Dunnam from the game. Dunnam entered the game 2-0 with a 3.91 ERA.

In the matching their highest-scoring inning of the season, the Islanders sent 11 players to the plate in the fifth. Trey Hernandez started the inning by reaching on an error in left field by Keith Kulbeth. Hernandez scored his second run of the game on an RBI single by Vergne. Marc Damon belted a two-run home run to right field for an 8-3 lead.

After Dunnam retired the next two hitters, Perales singled to center and moved to third on a base hit by Ege. Perales strolled home on a double by Omar Garcia off reliever Josh Labiche. Hernandez drove in the final two runs of the frame on a single to right.

Following an RBI single in the sixth by Ege for a 12-3 lead, the Islanders ended the game in the bottom of the seventh. With two away, Matt Holland pinch hitting for Damon blasted a two-run home run to right for the 14-3 win.

The Islanders posted 17 hits for the third time this season and now have 10 games with double-digit hits. Ege finished the game 4-of-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. He was a home run shy of the cycle. Five other Islanders posted two-hits each and eight starters had a hit. Hernandez had a game-high three RBI and now has 29 on the season. Montgomery, Ege, Vergne and Damon also had two. Montgomery extended his hitting streak to 14 games.

"We stayed consistent at the plate and were hitting line drives," said Malone. "It wasn't just a couple of guys today. We think we have seven or eight guys who can really swing the bat and we showed that today. We had hits and RBI up and down the lineup. The way we played offensively today is why we think we have a chance to be good."

Beau Comer, Adam Miley and Beau Falk each had two hits for the visitors.

The series continues Saturday at 2 p.m., while Sunday's finale is slated for a noon start