April 21, 2011

No. 19 Rice Nips Islanders, 7-5

HOUSTON - Matt Holland

went 2-for-3 with his seventh home run of the season, but the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi baseball team fell to No. 19 Rice, 7-5 on Wednesday night at Reckling Park. Jacob Perales added three hits for the Islanders in the loss.

Holland, Trey Hernandez and Bobby Buckner had two hits apiece for the visitors, who outhit the Owls by a margin of 12-10. Shane Hoelscher was the lone Rice player with more than one hit in the game.

Tyler Duffey improved to 6-1 with 2 1/3 perfect innings out of the pen, while Tony Cingrani closed out the game for his fifth save. Trenton Irwin picked up the loss for the Islanders after allowing five runs in 3 1/3 innings in his first start of the season, while Phillip Garcia and Adam Hoelscher had scoreless outings in relief.

The Islanders and Rice swapped deuces in the first inning to head to the second tied at 2-2. Jeramie Marek drew a leadoff walk in the opening frame, moved to second on a sac bunt, then moved to third and scored on a pair of wild pitches. Holland added a walk, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored when Perales singled to left to make it 2-0. Rice countered with two runs in the bottom of the second, posting three straight singles with two outs to tie the score.

In the second, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi put another crooked number on the board with two in the top of the second. Buckner delivered a leadoff single, then stole second. After two strikeouts, Omar Garcia scored him on a double to right to give the Islanders a 3-2 lead. A passed ball moved Garcia to third, and then Hernandez brought him home on a single to make it 4-2 Islanders.

The Owls responded with three runs in the bottom of the fourth to regain the lead. A walk and a seeing-eye single put two on and none out, and Ryan Lewis delivered a triple to right center to score two runs and tie the game 4-4. A groundout then scored the go-ahead run for the home squad.

After Rice plated a run in the bottom of the sixth, the Islanders got one back in the top of the seventh. With two down and the bases empty, Holland launched the first pitch he saw halfway up the scoreboard in right to make it a 6-5 game. The Islanders went on to load the bases with two down, but Santiago Ruiz flew out to left to end the threat.

The Owls were able to get some insurance in the bottom of the eighth, as a single and a hit batsman put two on and nobody out. After a sac bunt, the Islanders intentionally walked Anthony Rendon to load the bases, and a wild pitch scored the seventh run for Rice. But Michael Boyle came on and put out the fire to keep it a two-run game heading to the ninth. The Islanders got two on and one out in the top of the ninth, but closer Cingrani retired the last two batters to finish off the game.

The Islanders continue their road swing Thursday night, with the opening game of a three-game set at Southeastern Louisiana at 6 p.m. in Hammond, La. Friday night will see a 6 p.m. contest, with the series finale slated for Saturday at 2 p.m. Live audio and statistics for all three games will be available at GoIslanders.com.