LAKE CHARLES, La. - Jace Peterson crossed home on a tapper to third with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to push McNeese State past Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in a 13-12 win at Cowboy Diamond on Saturday.
Peterson led off the inning with a single, stole second and went to third on a sacrifice bunt. After Josh LeBert worked a walk, the Islanders loaded the bases by intentionally walking Lee Orr. Daniel Zaunbrecher then hit a weak grounder to third.
Weston Montgomery charged and appeared to have the out at the plate, but as Peterson crossed the plate the ball was dropped by Omar Garcia allowing the run to score.
The loss was the fifth straight for the Islanders (10-13, 3-5) who will look to avoid the sweep on Sunday. McNeese State evens its Southland Conference mark at 4-4 and 10-11 overall.
The defeat was doubly tough for the Islanders who jumped out to a six-run lead in the top of the first turning the tables on their hosts who scored the first seven on Friday. In the 6-run first, the Islanders took advantage of wildness by McNeese State starter Jaden Dillon to score six runs on four hits. Dillon, who is the reigning Southland Pitcher of the Week, walked two and hit a batter before leaving.
Dillon loaded the bases without recording an out as Cory Ege singled, Weston Montgomery walked, and Chris Vergne was hit by a pitch. Ege crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly by Trey Hernandez. After Matt Holland reached on a single to load the bases, Caleb Marx drew a bases loaded walk to plate a run and chase Dillon from the game. Jeramie Marek, who would finish with a career-high six RBI, followed with a two-run single. Roman Madrid and Chris Famiglietti drove in the final two runs.
The Cowboys finally broke through off starter Roy Ferdin in the third with three runs in the third and one in the fourth to make it a 6-4 game.
The Islanders pushed their lead back to four in the top of the fifth with a pair of one-run singles by Marx and Marek. Marx would later be thrown out trying to steal home on a delayed double steal.
The Cowboys took the lead, 10-8 with six runs in the bottom of the inning. With one away, Ferdin allowed back-to-back hits to score a pair of runs. He left after Jordan Venable's two-run single.
Marc Damon relieved Ferdin and the junior struggled giving up three earned runs in a third of an inning in the fifth.
With the score 11-8 entering the seventh, the Islanders rallied to tie the game with one away off Phil Parcell. Jacob Perales started things with a single and went to second when Marx was hit by a pitch. Marek followed with a three-run blast to left-center field knotting the game at 11. It was his first home run of the season.
Vergne scored in the eighth inning with two away after drawing a walk and stealing second to give the Islanders a 12-11 advantage. He scored on a single to center by Perales.
The lead didn't last long. Bryn Thompson was hit by a Andrew Longoria pitch to start the inning. Pinch runner Josh Cholley moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. After holding at second on a ground ball for the second out, Cholley came home on a single by Blake Ellender to left.
In the top of the ninth, the Islanders threatened, Garcia came to the plate as a pinch hitter and singled through the left side of the infield. After Chris Famiglietti was struck out looking by Matt Click after failing to put down on a bunt on the first two pitches, Garcia moved to second on a single to center by Ege. Weston Montgomery flew out to right for the second out with the inning ended as Garcia was thrown out trying to move to third on the play sending the game to the bottom of the inning tied.
Brett Gibson was credited with the loss evening his record at 1-1. He was one of six Islander pitchers used who combined to allow 11 earned runs on 15 hits. They walked six and had one strikeout. Click earned the win allowing one run in three innings and fanning four. He followed Parcell, who allowed six runs on seven hits in 6-1/3 innings.
Marek had three of the Islanders 12 hits to go with his six RBI. Ege and Perales each had two. Peterson had four hits and Venable three as MSU finished with 15.
The series finale is Sunday at 1 p.m.