Trey Hernandez hit a bases-loaded single through a drawn in infield in the bottom of the ninth with one out as the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi baseball team downed Lamar 5-4 on Saturday at Whataburger Field.
The Islanders (13-19, 5-9 in the SLC) will go for the series win on Sunday when they host the finale at 11 a.m. The time has been changed due to inclement weather scheduled to move into the area on Sunday. Lamar (18-14, 5-9) won the opener.
After Marc Damon worked out of a jam in the top of the ninth, Jeramie Marek led the bottom of the ninth off with a single to right and went to second when Weston Montgomery's bunt found a hole in the Lamar infield. After Caleb Marx executed a sacrifice bunt off Garrett Steward (1-3), Chris Vergne drew a walk from Brandon Chambers. Hernandez then hit an 0-2 to pitch up the middle to drive in Marek for the winning run.
The win was called "gutsy' by head coach Scott Malone as Lamar seeming was one big hit away from breaking opening the game. Lamar would strand 14 hitters in the game.
"I was really proud of everyone - the hitters and the pitchers," said Malone. "Not because we played great today, but because how we battled. It was a gutsy performance and the everyone played with a lot of energy and excitement."
Lamar took the lead with an unearned run in the top of the first. Aaron Buchanan led of the game by legging out an infield second. After advancing to second on a wild pitch, he stole third and scored on an errant throw by catcher Roman Madrid on the steal attempt.
After Jake Liedka worked out of bases loaded jams in the second and third frames, the Islanders took the lead in the bottom of the fourth with three runs on four hits. Three straight hits by TAMUCC of LU starter Eric Harrington opened the inning.
Chris Vergne singled and scored as Trey Hernandez ripped a shot in to the corner for a triple. Matt Holland drove in the second run of the inning with a single. After stealing second and going to third on a grounder by Cory Ege, Holland gave the Islanders a 3-1 lead as he scored on a single by Marc Damon.
The Cardinals regained the lead with three runs off Liedka in the top of the sixth. The inning began with Pablo Salinas reaching on a throwing error and going to second as Ted Zentek walked. After Salinas was forced out at third on a fielder's choice, Buchanan drove in Zentek. After Andy Mena loaded the bases with two outs with a single, Quentin Luquette was hit by a pitch to plate the second run. Ryan Meade gave the Cardinals a 4-3 lead with a sacrifice fly off Adam Hoelscher. After Hoelscher walked a batter to load the bases, Ian Campbell would work out of a third bases loaded jam.
After holding Lamar to its only 1-2-3 inning of the game in the seventh, the Islanders tied the game at four in the seventh with one away. Jacob Perales came off the bench to hit for Roman Madrid and lined a 3-2 pitch on to the berm in left. It was his second home run of the season.
The Islanders threw five pitchers on the day. After Liedka allowed four runs with two earned on 11 hits in 5-1/3 innings, Hoelscher, Campbell, Hernandez and Damon combined to toss 3-2/3 innings of scoreless relief. They scattered two hits and walked three.
"It seemed whoever the next guy we brought in today would get us out of a jam," said Malone. "The energy was a lot different than yesterday. We were behind much of the day but never felt like we were out of it like yesterday."
Harrington allowed 10 hits in seven innings of work. He permitted the first four runs and struck out four without a walk.
The Islanders finished with 14 hits led by Marx with three. Hernandez and Marek each had two. Hernandez now has 42 RBI on the season leading the league and moved to second in career RBI with 131. He is three behind Jaime Landin for the all-time lead of 134.
Buchanan and Mena each had three hits for the Cardinals who had 13 in the game. All 13 hits were singles for the Cardinals.