ISLANDERS COME UP SHORT IN SERIES FINALE AGAINST LAMAR 9-2
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi couldn't figure out freshman Jonathan Dziedzic Sunday at Whataburger Field, the lefty struck out 13 in eight innings in the finale as Lamar won 9-2 to claim the series.
The loss drops the Islanders to 5-10 in the Southland Conference and 13-20 overall. They sit tenth in the league. Lamar moves a game ahead of the Islanders in the league at 6-9 and is 19-14 on the season.
The Cardinals took control of the game with five runs in the top of the second inning.
After Chris Pena stranded a pair of runners in the first with three straight strikeouts, Lamar tagged him for five runs in the second. With one away, Pena (1-3) would load the bases by hitting Anthony Moore, who was hit by a pitch for the third time on the weekend, and walking Joey Latulippe. Pena left allowing five runs on six hits, a walk and a hit batter.
Lamar followed with three straight run-scoring singles to chase Pena from the game. Aaron Buchanan started the scoring with a two-run single. After a RBI single by Andy Mena, Quentin Luquette roped a two-run single for the 5-0 lead and his ninth and tenth RBI of the weekend.
"Chris got in a hole in the first inning then got out of it impressively," said Scott Malone, the Islander head coach. "Then in the second inning the wheels fall off. I look down and the next the next thing you know the No. 7, 8, and 9 hitters are on base. It's a problem we've had all season on the mound - inconsistency."
The Islanders plated their first run in the bottom of the third. Marc Damon walked to lead off the inning and went to second as Jacob Perales hit a grounder off the pitcher's glove. Following a single by Caleb Marx, Jeramie Marek hit a hard shot at second baseman Mena that was misplayed into an error scoring Damon.
With one out in the bottom of the fourth, the Islanders threatened again. Weston Montgomery singled to right bringing Damon to the plate. Damon hit a single to right, however Luquette gunned down Montgomery trying to go from first to third.
The Islanders made it a 3-run game in the bottom of the sixth with a single run. With one away, Chris Vergne doubled and advanced to third on sacrifice bunt by Omar Garcia. He scored as Weston Montgomery hit into a fielder's choice. Dziedzic ended the inning by striking out Damon.
The Islander bullpen kept the Lamar offense off the board until the ninth when the Cardinals added four runs to seal the win. Ian Campbell started off the ninth by walking Latulippe which was followed by an RBI double from Buchanan. Luquette doubled to extend the Cardinals lead.
In total Lamar scored four-runs on three hits in the top of the ninth pushing its lead to seven, 9-2.
Not going quietly the Islander mounted a threat in the bottom half of the ninth. Omar Garcia led off the inning with a single to center, pinch hitter Bobby Buckner and Marc Damon worked back-to-back walks loading the bases.
Matt Holland came off the bench striking out on three pitches against Garrett Steward. Caleb Marx was the Islanders last chance to keep the rally going. On a 2-1 pitch from Steward, Marx hit a ground ball to Mena for the game ending double play.
For the visitors Dziedzic held the A&M-Corpus Christi offense silent for the most part through eight innings of work. The lefty scattered six hits, struck out 13 Islanders, walked two and allowed two runs with one earned.
The Islander pitching staff finished with 10 Ks. Philip Garcia stuck out two, while Hoelscher had three in four scoreless innings of work. Campbell also had a pair.
The Islanders finished with seven hits. Omar Garcia led the way with two. Buchanan and Luquette finished with three hits and three RBI apiece.
"Not to take anything away from their starter, but that was the worst day we've had offensively," said Malone. "I am on offensive coach. As I told the guys, when I pencil you in it is because I have respect for you. When I pencil you in in the middle of the order, it is because I expect you to produce. We had nine strikeouts in our first four hitters."
Next up will be a midweek trip to Rice on Wednesday before returning to Southland Conference play next weekend at Stephen F. Austin Friday-Sunday.