March 14, 2011

Carnline Tosses Islanders to 5-4 Victory

LUBBOCK - Brett Carnline

threw 6 2/3 strong innings to lead the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi baseball team to a 5-4 victory over Iowa on Monday at Dan Law Field. It marked the third consecutive one-run game for the Islanders (12-7) at the Texas Tech Invitational, which will conclude on Tuesday afternoon.

Carnline surrendered just four hits and three walks in his outing, and just one of the four runs he allowed was earned. Philip Garcia picked up his first save of the year with 1 2/3 innings of shutout ball, while Chris Pena allowed one hit over 2/3 of an inning.

Offensively, Bobby Buckner had three RBI in a 1-for-3 day, while Trey Hernandez and Matt Holland each went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Drew Vest added a 2-for-4 day in the victory. Kasey Carling was the lone Hawkeye with multiple hits, as the Islanders limited them to five base knocks in the game.

"I thought Brett Carnline was huge today," head coach Scott Malone said. "He pitched like a senior - once the offense gave him four early to start with, he started to relax and let the defense work behind him. Drew Vest made a ton of plays and Jumpy Garcia was great behind the plate, he really picked up some big outs.

"They had their one good inning," he continued, "taking advantage of us making an error, but we were able to have Pena get us out of there and then Philly Garcia get us the last five outs. It was nice to see a new guy get us out of a tight game. It was a really good win after losing two tough games yesterday, especially winning a tight one like that to have us keep our composure in the dugout and on the field."

The Islanders struck quickly with four runs in the bottom of the first to open up a 4-0 lead. Chris Vergne got things started with a one-out double to right, and Hernandez singled him home for a 1-0 lead, but the senior was gunned down at second trying to advance on the throw to the plate. Holland followed with a double, then back-to-back walks loaded the bases for Buckner. The junior ripped a double to the gap to clear the bags and give Texas A&M - Corpus Christi a 4-0 lead.

That looked like plenty for Carnline, who was cruising through the first three innings, not allowing a hit over the opening three frames. He surrendered his first base knock in the top of the fourth, as Mike McQuillan doubled to center. A wild pitch and a sac fly scored the Hawkeye, and Iowa found itself down 4-1.

The Islanders tacked on another run in the bottom of the fifth. Hernandez delivered a one-out double to right, and Holland followed by singling him home with an RBI single through the right side to give his team a 5-1 advantage.

The Hawkeyes finally got to Carnline in the seventh, as the senior had surrendered just three hits in the first 6 2/3 innings. But with two down, Chett Zeise doubled to right center, and a throwing error by Buckner to the next hitter kept the inning alive. After a Carling single up the middle plated an unearned run, Carnline's day came to an end. Pena came on in relief, but surrendered a two-run double to Trevor Willis to trim the deficit to just 5-4. But Pena emerged without any further damage by retiring Kurt Lee to end the frame.

Though the Islanders were unable to plate any insurance over the final two frames, it proved moot, as Philip Garcia came on to finish off the game. The righty retired all five batters he faced on flyballs to finish off the contest with the Islanders in the winner's column by a 5-4 tally.

The Islanders and Red Raiders will finish off the Texas Tech Invitational on Tuesday at 1 p.m., the third meeting between the two teams this weekend. Each team has taken a contest, and the Islanders will send junior Sean Hoelscher to the bump in the rubber match. Texas Tech is yet to name a starter for the game.