CONWAY, Ark. - Jake Olier singled in Matt Holland and Jeramie Marek scored on an error as the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi baseball team picked up its first extra inning win of the season with a 9-8 win over Central Arkansas in 12 innings. The game lasted a season-long four hous and 18 minutes.
In the decisive top of the 12th, Holland singled with one out and stole second. After Marek lined a single to right for his school-record and Southland Conference record tying sixth hit of the game, Jake Olier drove in Holland with a single to left for his third RBI of the season. Marek scored on an UCA errant throw.
The bottom of the frame had its own drama. Hernandez on for his third inning of work sandwiched a two singles before leaving. Adam Hoelscher, who is slated to start on Sunday, struck out the first batter he faced but loaded the bases with a walk. He then was credited with a walk driving in Blake Roberts to make it 9-8. Brett Gibson would pick up his sixth career save and first since his freshman season by getting Matt Bauer to fly out to center.
Hernandez, who drove in four runs at the plate, earned the win to move to 1-0. He allowed one run on five hits in 2-1/3 innings of relief. Michael Wild (4-8) suffered the loss.
With their first extra-inning win of the season, the Islanders move to 19-28 and picked up their ninth Southland Conference victory of the season matching last year's win total. UCA moves to 15-31 on the season and 6-20 on the season. The 12-inning contest was the team's longest game since a 12-inning affair against Lamar on Apr. 20, 2008.
The Islanders entered the day three games behind Lamar and Nicholls and two behind Sam Houston State in the race for the Southland Conference Tournament. Nicholls and Sam Houston each lost, while the Cardinals split a doubleheader.
Trailing 1-0 entering the third after an RBI double by Bobby Pritchett in the bottom of the second the Islanders took the lead with pair of runs. Marek led the inning of with a single to right and moved to second on a bunt single by Caleb Marx. After each advanced a base on a wild pitch, Marek scored as Cory Ege grounded out to third. Hernandez gave the Islanders the lead with a sacrifice fly.
UCA tied the game at two in the bottom of the inning. Roberts lined a two-out single to right-centerfield plating Greg Noble.
The Islanders regained the lead in the top of the fifth. Marek led the inning off with an infield single, stole second and advanced to third on a bad throw by the catcher. Ege singled up the middle driving in Marek.
The see-saw battle continued as the Bears took a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth. The first three hitters reached to start the inning off Islander starter Brandon Orr, who allowed five runs on seven hits in five innings of work. Michael Pair reached on a wild pitch on strike three with back-to-back singles loading the bases.
Ian Campbell relieved Orr but hit the first batter he faced before allowing a two-run double by Pritchett that gave UCA a 5-3 advantage. Chris Pena, who allowed one run on two hits in four innings of work, replaced Campbell and got out of the jam with no more damage. He struck out one batter and got a fly out, while Omar Garcia threw out a runner at second.
The Islanders tied the game with a pair of runs in the top of the seventh. With one away Ege doubled moving Marx to third. Both scored on a single by Hernandez, who was thrown out at second trying to stretch the hit into a double.
Hernandez appeared to put the Islanders ahead for good with a double to left field in the top of the ninth driving in his fourth run. Marek, who led off the inning with his fourth hit of the game, scored on the play, while Ege was thrown out at third for the second out of the inning after making a wide turn. After Perales drew a walk, the inning ended with a fielder's choice.
UCA tied the game in the bottom of the ninth. With one out, Drew Sullivan reached on a pinch hit single. He came around to score from first on a two-out single by Bauer.
In the tenth, Montgomery reached on a one-out single and went to second as Holland reached on an error. Marek loaded the bases with a hit to right. Marx picked up a bases loaded walk to push the Islanders in front, but A&M-Corpus Christi could not add to its total as Ege struck out and Hernandez flew out to right with the bases loaded.
The Bears answered in the bottom of the tenth. Michael Pair reached on a bunt single and went to third on a single to right by Blake Roberts. With one away, Pair was safe at home as catcher Roman Madrid could not hold on to the ball after a bunt to Hernandez on the mound.
The Islanders finished with 19 hits as eight of nine starters recorded a hit. Aside from Marek's school-record six hits. Hernandez had three hits, while Ege, Garcia, and Montgomery all had two. Roberts led UCA with three hits.
The series finale is slated for 11 a.m. on Sunday.