ISLANDERS EARN SECOND WIN IN ROW OVER NICHOLLS
The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi baseball team crossed the plate twice in the bottom of the seventh to break a 5-5 tie and turned the game over to the bullpen for a 7-5 win over Nicholls at Chapman Field on Saturday. The Islanders will go for the sweep at noon on Sunday.
"I was really proud of the guys today," said Islander head coach Scott Malone. "It was a long day at the ballpark with a 1-1/2 hour rain delay and having to pull the tarp on and off the field. We talked a lot about the opportunity to win the series today and I was pleased with how we performed."
In the pivotal seventh, the Islanders (10-8, 3-2) took advantage of wildness by Clint Dempster to break the deadlock. Trey Hernandez led off the inning reaching on a wild pitch despite swinging at strike three. He moved to second on a single by Chris Vergne and scored on a base hit to single by Marc Damon. Vergne crossed the plate on a second wild pitch by Dempster, who fell to 2-2.
The Colonels (11-7, 2-3) threatened in the eighth and ninth innings, but the Islander bullpen bent but did not break. In the eighth, Blake Bergeron led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Ian Campbell. Campbell, who earned the win with two innings of scoreless relief to go to 2-3, forced Beau Falk to pop up to Omar Garcia in foul territory. Bergeron moved to third on grounder to first by Sam Konnoff, but Campbell ended the inning by striking out Kevin Schlegel.
In the ninth, Kasey Culverson led off with a single and advanced to third on a two-base error by Campbell on a ground ball by Beau Comer. Phillip Garcia entered the game with no outs and earned his second save by returning the two, three and four hitters for the Colonels.
The teams traded runs in the first. Chase Jaramillo stole home for the first run after walking and going to third on a single by Keith Kulbeth. Bobby Buckner tied the game in the bottom of the inning when Vergne drew a bases loaded walk.
Vergne led off the fourth with a triple to the gap in right-center field. Jeramie Marek drove in Vergne with a two-out single to left.
In the fifth, Nicholls took advantage of a Cory Ege error to score three runs for a brief 4-2 lead. Ege began the inning by misplaying a ball hit by Schlegel. After TAMUCC starter Jake Liedka walked Comer and Jaramillo, Kulbeth hit a two-run single to centerfield. Jaramillo raced home from third on a bunt by Adam Miley.
"Liedka continued the momentum that our starters have built lately and gave us a chance early to win some innings," said Malone. "We then got three scoreless innings from the bullpen. Phillie came in with runners on second and third and no outs and worked his way out of it."
The Islanders tied the game at four in the bottom of the inning with a pair of unearned runs. With one away, Buckner reached on an error and went to second on a single by Weston Montgomery. Trey Hernandez drove in his 30th run of the season with a single to right, while Montgomery came home on a fielder's choice.
The teams traded runs in the sixth. Faulk led the inning with a single to left and scored on a double by Schlegel. Buckner drove in Perales in the bottom of the inning.
The Islanders finished with 11 base hits with five players recording two. Montgomery had two hits extending his hitting streak to 15 games, while Vergne was 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored. Buckner, Hernandez and Marek each had two hits. Nicholls finished with eight hits.
"We saw a really good arm from Nicholls," said Malone. "Dempster is one of better lefties in league. Every time they scored we answered and that was big for us. I can't single out anyone on offense. It was up and down the line up.