STRONG PITCHING PERFOMANCE SPARKS ISLANDERS TO 6-3 WIN
NACOGDOCHES - Brandon Orr tossed eight strong innings sparking the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi baseball team to a 6-3 win over Stephen F. Austin in the series finale on Sunday at Jaycees Field.
With the win, the Islanders (14-23) avoid their second Southland Conference sweep of the season and moved to 6-12 in the league. The win on Sunday was their first in a conference finale this season and snapped a 4-game losing streak. The Lumberjacks fall to 11-6 and are 23-11 overall.
Orr (2-4) allowed two runs in the bottom of the first and then shutdown SFA the next seven innings giving up one hit. He retired the Lumberjacks in order five times and finished with five strikeouts.
For the first time in the series, SFA struck first with a pair of runs. The Lumberjacks first two hitters reached on back-to-back singles in the bottom of the first. Jarid Scarafiotti followed with a two-run double for a 2-0. SFA attempted to add to its lead as Scarafiotti advanced to third on an error by Omar Garcia whose throw hit a runner diving back into the bag at first.
"Brandon pitched like a senior today," said Islander head coach Scott Malone. "He took a good punch in the bottom of the first, but kept his composure and battled back."
The Islanders took the lead in the top of the third. With one away, Garcia doubled over the head of Bo Coffman in right. Bobby Buckner followed with a home run to right on a 2-1 pitch off Justin Braddock as he made his first plate appearance of the weekend to tie the game at two.
"The home run by Buckner was huge," said Malone. "He had been platooning, fighting for his job. He really got us going today."
Braddock suffered the loss as he allowed four runs on five hits in six innings falling to 4-2.
Chris Vergne kept things going with two away as he doubled. Trey Hernandez gave the Islanders a 3-2 lead with a run-scoring single to right-center field.
After Orr worked out of bases loaded jam in the bottom of the fourth, the Islanders extended its lead to two, 4-2, in the sixth. Hernandez was hit by a pitch with one away and stole second. Cory Ege drove in Hernandez with a single to right.
A&M-Corpus Christi added single runs in the eighth and ninth innings.
In the eighth, Matt Holland reached on an error scored on single to left by Weston Montgomery with one away. Hernandez picked up his second RBI of the game in the ninth to make it a 4-run game driving in Buckner with a sacrifice fly to center. The RBI was the 134th of Hernandez's career tying him with Jaime Landin for the career lead.
Chris Pena allowed a run on two hits in the ninth. With two way, Riley Huble singled and scored on a double by Michael Haynes. Pena would get Smith to fly out to center to end the game.
Three Islanders finished with two hits as they had nine hits in the game. Buckner, Garcia and Hernandez each had a pair of hits.
"We played well all weekend," said Malone, whose team fell 4-3 in the first two games. "Today, we came up with the big hit or pitch when we needed it. We played solid defense all weekend."
The Islanders head to Texas-Pan American for a doubleheader on Tuesday. The first game in Edinburg will be at 3 p.m.