Texas A&M-Corpus Christi jumped out to a 4-0 lead on Friday and received a solid first career start from Trenton Irwin as the Islander baseball team evened its series with Sam Houston State 1-1 with a 9-4 win.
The Islanders (20-32-1, 10-21-1) picked up their 20th win overall of the season with victory and 10th Southland victory. The Bearkats dropped to 18-36 overall and 10-22 in the league.
The season finale will be Saturday at 1 p.m. It will be the final home game for both teams with Senior Day celebrations beginning at 12:40 for the trio of Jake Liedka, Jake Olier, and Brandon Orr.
A&M-Corpus Christi finished the game with 15 hits. Ten of the hits came from the top four slots in the Islander order. Cory Ege led the way with three hits and four runs batted in from the clean-up slot, while Caleb Marx, Omar Garcia and Trey Hernandez each had two hits.
"I am so proud of Trenton today," said Islander head coach Scott Malone. "He put zeroes up, threw Ks and really competed. The offense did what it was supposed to and scored runs early giving Trenton a chance to relax. Trenton and (Chris) Pena never let Sam get into the game offensively. They kept them offense balance.
"Offensively, when you get 10 hits from the top four hitters you are doing what you need to do at the plate."
A&M-Corpus Christi opened the bottom of the first with three straight singles off Brent Powers to load the bases. Ege roped a two-run double down the right-field line scoring Marx and Garcia. Marc Damon brought in the third with a sacrifice fly to center plating Hernandez.
In the second inning, Bobby Buckner, who also had two hits, opened the inning with a solo home run to right-center field. It was Buckner's fifth home run of the season.
Irwin, who permitted one base runner in each of the first two innings, took a shutout into the fourth inning. The junior, who had tossed eight innings all season, retired the first two batters in the fourth with no problem before a single by Marc Hudson. Hudson advanced two bases by stealing second and moving to third as Garcia's throw to second was high.
Irwin appeared to get out of the inning with no score as he struck out Jordan Bunch. Garcia dropped the third strike and threw the ball down the first-base line. Bunch went to second and scored the second run on a single to left by Ryan Mooney.
Irwin would toss five innings scattering four hits, striking out two and walking one. The righty allowed two unearned runs to earn his first win as an Islander.
Following a solo home run by Taylor Davis in the top of the sixth off Pena to make it a 4-3 game, the Islanders plated five more runs in their next three trips at the plate off reliever Justin Jackson.
Pena tossed three strong innings in relief allowing just the one run. He fanned a career-high six batters with no walks.
After Buckner crossed the plate on a double into the corner in left by Marx, A&M-Corpus Christi scored twice in each of its next two at bats. In the seventh, Hernandez blasted a solo home run to right for his 16th of the season which is the third most in a single season. Matt Holland followed with a single and, after back-to-back singles by Jeramie Marek and Marc Damon, scored on a grounder by Vergne.
In the eighth, Olier led the inning off with a pinch-hit single off Jackson. After moving to second on a wild pitch, Olier went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Garcia. Following an intentional walk to Hernandez, Ege tripled to into the corner in right scoring a pair of runs. It was the team's 23rd triple of the season.
SHSU's Bunch capped the scoring with a solo home run in the ninth off Liedka.