Texas State Tops Islanders in Series Opener, 5-3

CORPUS CHRISTI -

In the Southland Conference opener for both teams, Texas State outdueled the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi baseball team for a 5-3 victory on Friday night at Whataburger Field. Todd Simko tossed seven solid innings in a losing effort for the Islanders.

Logan Nottebrok had a 2-for-4 day to lead the Islanders offense, while five others had solo hits for the squad. Simko allowed five hits and three walks in seven innings, striking out five. He was carded with the loss, though, as Bobcats ace Carson Smith punched out 10 and allowed four hits in seven frames. Tyler Sibley had two hits for the visitors in the victory.

"Tonight Texas State reiterated that they can play," Head Coach Scott Malone said. "Carson Smith is one of the best, if not the best, pitchers in the conference - he got his strikeouts and used his defense well when we put the ball in play. Todd threw the ball well but they make it tough on pitchers with how they grind against you. I'm anxious to see how we respond tomorrow with Meza and I expect us to hit the ball well."

The Islanders struck first with a run in the bottom of the second off Smith. Jeramie Marek reached on an error with one down to start the rally. He then swiped second and advanced to third when the throw sailed into centerfield. Two batters later, a wild pitch sent him scampering to the plate with the first run of the game to make it 1-0 Islanders.

The Bobcats scored twice in the top of the third to take a 2-1 edge. A walk, two singles and an error led to a pair of runs for the visitors, but Simko avoided further damage with a flyout and a popout to end the inning. Texas State posted another run in the top of the fourth to push the lead to 3-1, though. Two singles and a walk pushed across the third run of the contest, but again Simko avoided more damage by getting a 6-4-3 double play to end the frame.

The home squad trimmed the deficit to 3-2 with a run in the bottom of the sixth. Jacob Perales hit a one-out double to left to start things, and two batters later Jumpy Garcia reached on an error that scored the senior to make it a one-run contest.

But Texas State was able to score solo tallies in both the seventh and the eighth to push the lead to 5-2. In the ninth, the Islanders rallied to bring the tying run to the plate. Sean Washington had a one-out single and then Logan Nottebrok blasted a triple to left center to score Washington and make it 5-3. But after Drew Vest popped out, Chris Vergne came to the plate as the tying run, but he grounded out to first to end the ballgame.

The Islanders and Bobcats will do battle in game two of the three-game set on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Chapman Field. Moody grad Justin Meza is slated to go for the Islanders. The two teams will then conclude their series on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Whataburger Field. Live stats and video will be available for all games on GoIslanders.com.