CORPUS CHRISTI - The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi baseball team opened the fourth edition of the Islanders Fall Classic on Thursday at Chapman Field. Blue rallied for four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and held on for a 9-6 win.
The Green team tagged Blue team starter Todd Simko for two runs on two hits in the top of the first inning. Drew Vest and Jumpy Garcia had back-to-back singles followed up by walks to Bobby Buckner then Caleb Marx walked bringing in a run.
Blue got a run back off Green starter Sean Hoelscher when a run scored off an infield fly which dropped just off the infield grass making the score 2-1 Green.
In the top of the third inning, Green scored two more runs following a Jumpy Garcia walk and Buckner double. Sean Washington drove home two runs off Simko putting Green up 4-1.
Hoelscher struggled with his command in the bottom part of the inning, loading the bases with three-straight walks. His fourth walk brought in a run for Blue, then a wild pitch made the score 4-3 before Chris Vergne supplied a sacrifice fly tying the game at four.
Buckner and Marx again supplied RBIs in the top of the fourth to push the Green to a 6-4 lead. Simko started off with a walk followed by a single off a misplayed Texas leaguerwhich led to Buckner hitting into an RBI groundout.
Marx followed with a two-out hit giving the Green a two-run lead. Blue got one run back in the bottom of the inning after Hoelscher uncorked two more wild pitches, making the score 6-5.
Roy Ferdin came in relief of Simko with two runners on base. Facing Vest in that situation, Ferdin came up with a strikeout out keeping the Blue within one run.
Blue tied the game in the bottom of the fifth inning after a Green double play. Two runs came into score following a Trenton Irwin wild pitch after Omar Garcia and Buckner committed errors, putting Blue up 8-6. One more run came into score in the fifth to put Blue on top 9-6 after five.
Tanner Green came out of the bullpen in the top of the sixth for Blue and was helped out of a situation when the Green team had the inning end on an out at home.
Phillip Garcia kept the deficit at three runs for the Green team when he came into the game in relief of Adam Hoelscher and got out of a two-on, two-out situation.
Roman Madrid came in and worked a clean top of the seventh inning, preserving a 9-6 victory for the Blue team and giving them a 1-0 lead in the Fall Classic.
"Both teams played hard and I loved the energy from both dugouts today," said head coach Scott Malone "We've got things that we'll have to clean up over the next couple days. Roman Madrid came in with good stuff in the seventh inning for the Blue team to get the save."
"The difference in the game probably was Ferdin and Tanner, who came in out of the bullpen throwing strikes and keeping the Blue in the game," added Malone.
The series continues on Friday at 2:30 PM at Chapman Field. Blue will be the visiting team with Green being the home team.