Rocha, solid pitching helps Green even Islanders Fall Classic
CORPUS CHRISTI - The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi baseball program continued their annual Islanders Fall Classic on Friday with game two at Chapman Field. Matt Rocha had what proved to be the winning hit when he doubled in a pair of runs which helped the Green win 3-1, setting up a winner-take-all game three on Saturday.
In game one, the Blue team took advantage of late errors by the Green team to win 9-6. The starting pitching match-up for game two featured Michael Boyle for Blue and Brett Carnline going for Green.
Like Green's game one starter, Sean Hoelscher, who had control problems, Carnline had to pitch around two early walks before throwing up a zero on the scoreboard in the top of the first. Dan Sciantarelli grounded out for the Blue leaving the bases loaded in the opening frame.
Green seized the momentum in the bottom of the first following a Jeremy Marek walk when a Bobby Buckner triple put Green up 1-0. Blue starter Michael Boyle then regrouped, retiring the side and stranding Buckner at third.
Both Carnline and Boyle settled into a groove with both matching one another pitch-for-pitch in the second and third innings. Green added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth when Matt Rocha drove in two runs, putting his team up 3-0.
"Today was a much cleaner day than game one with both starting pitchers throwing strikes and keeping the defense active," said head coach Scott Malone "Carnline and Boyle both got into a good tempo which got everyone involved, that's something we want to see from our pitchers."
Carnline gave way to the bullpen after going four innings, allowing one hit, no runs and striking out four. Boyle also pitched four innings, allowing three runs on four hits with two walks and also struck out four.
Facing the bullpen in the top of the fifth inning, Blue's Justin Meza got his team on the scoreboard with a sacrifice fly against freshman reliever Zak Bryce to make the score 3-1 Green.
Freshman Garrett Guys came into the game in the top of the sixth inning for Blue and stranded Jacob Perales and Caleb Marx. Blue tried to get back into the contest when Andrew Longoria opened with back-to-back walks in the bottom of the sixth.
"I liked what our freshman who came out of the bullpen did for us today," added Malone. "When brought in they stepped up and got outs."
With Chris Vergne on second base and no outs, Longoria picked Vergne off for the first out of the inning. The next two batters for Blue reached on a hit-by-pitch and a single to load the bases. Weston Montgomery, with the bases loaded, lined to Perales who then gunned out Matt Holland at the plate to end the inning and keeping Green's 3-1 lead intact.
Chris Pena entered in the bottom of the seventh to protect the 3-1 Green advantage. Pena allowed a walk in the inning before his defense turned a game-ending double-play with senior Trey Hernandez waiting on deck.
"Tomorrow is the final day of this series and it's for the series and bragging rights for these guys. It'll be exciting." closed Malone
The deciding game three of the Islanders Fall Classic is Saturday at Chapman Field with first pitch at noon.