April 9, 2011

Lamar Tops Islanders in Pitchers' Duel, 1-0

BEAUMONT -

After winning a well-pitched affair over Lamar on Friday night, the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi baseball team was dealt a similar fate on Saturday, falling 1-0. The Cardinals (21-13, 8-6 Southland) scored the lone run of the game on a bases loaded walk by Chris Pena in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Both teams got stellar starting pitching as the Islanders' Justin Meza and Lamar's Blake Ford matched each other strike for strike throughout most of the contest. Meza held the Cardinals to one run in 6 2/3 innings and recorded six strikeouts. Ford was equal to the task, keeping the Islanders scoreless in tossing a complete-game shutout.

Marek led the Islanders with two hits, while Chris Vergne, Jacob Perales, Trey Hernandez and Jumpy Garcia had the other four. No Cardinal had more than one base knock, as the Islanders staff held them to just four hits on the day.

Texas A&M - Corpus Christi had a strong chance in the first, as the team got a leadoff single from Marek to open the game which was followed up by Vergne reaching on a bunt single. But Ford came back strong, striking out the next three Islanders hitters to end the threat. The Islanders got runners on in the third, fourth and fifth as well, but each time bounced into a double play to neutralize the threat.

Meza went the first 3 1/3 innings before allowing his first hit of the game. In the middle innings, though, he had to work his way out of trouble several times. In the fifth, Meza allowed a single to Cameron Johnson and hit Andrew Dewey with two out before walking Aaron Buchanan to load the bases. But needing the final out, he fought through a nine-pitch at-bat to send Ted Zentek down swinging. In the sixth, he stranded two more Cardinals on base.

But Lamar finally broke through against Meza with two outs in the seventh. After allowing a single and two walks to load the bags, Meza gave way to Pena. The senior then missed on a 3-2 pitch to walk Wade Mathis, making the score 1-0 LU. Tanner Green came on to get the final out of the inning. The run seemed to energize Ford, who set the Islanders down with just a single to right over the final two innings to come away with the win.

The series concludes on Sunday at 1 p.m. with the rubber match from Vincent-Beck Stadium in Beaumont. Lefty Todd Simko is slated to pitch for the Islanders. Live audio and statistics will be available on GoIslanders.com.