Simko Tosses Two-Hitter in 7-1 Victory
Junior Todd Simko allowed just two hits in a complete-game victory to lead the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi baseball team to a 7-1 win over Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday. Matt Holland and Sean Washington each hit home runs for the Islanders, who moved within a game of eighth place with the win. The victory snapped a nine-game losing streak for the Islanders (23-21, 8-13 Southland).
Simko allowed four walks and struck out three in his first career complete game, carrying a one-hitter into the ninth inning. Josh Janway picked up the loss for Southeastern (26-15, 12-9), allowing four runs in 2 2/3 innings, while Stefan Lopez threw five impressive stanzas, striking out seven out of the pen.
Santiago Ruiz, Weston Montgomery and Logan Nottebrok each had two hits, with Ruiz driving in a pair of runs. Jeramie Marek also had a pair of RBI in the game, as seven different players scored runs in the contest. Jeff Harkensee and Michael Rutland had the only two hits for the Lions.
After both teams were scoreless for the first two innings, the Islanders offense came alive in the third. Nottebrok led off with an infield single and Ruiz followed him on base with a perfectly-placed bunt that went for a single of his own. A sac bunt moved both runners into scoring position, and then Marek knocked a single up the middle to plate both men for a 2-0 lead. After a strikeout, Holland came up and went the opposite way with a 2-2 pitch for his eighth homer of the season and a 4-0 Islanders advantage.
The Lions got their first hit of the ballgame in the fourth, as Harkensee knocked a ball past a diving Marek into center for a single. Simko allowed just the one hit and one hit batsman over the first four innings, as he continuously got ground balls off the Lions' bats. In the fifth, the Islanders added to their lead. Washington led off and turned on the first pitch he saw, hitting a towering fly ball down the left-field line. The ball carried just inside the foul pole for the freshman's first career home run and the Islanders led 5-0.
In the sixth, the Islanders added two more runs to their lead. Bobby Buckner led off with a single to left and Montgomery followed with a flyball to right that was lost in the sun by Cody Gougler for a single. A groundout advanced both runners to scoring position, and then Ruiz delivered a 1-2 pitch over the second baseman's head and into right center for a two-run single and a 7-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Simko continued to pound away for groundballs, putting zeroes on the board in the fifth, sixth and seventh without allowing another hit. In the eighth, the Lions finally cracked the scoreboard. Two walks and a flyout put two on and one out for Harkensee. The lefty ripped a ball to first base, and Trey Hernandez gunned to second for one out, but the Islanders were unable to turn two, leaving runners at the corners. The visitors tried to get a force out on the next play, but the umpire ruled the man safe at second on a bang-bang play to score a run to make it 7-1.
Simko then came out for the ninth and allowed his second hit of the game, but got Jacob Fisher to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play and retired Brock Hebert on a groundout to end the game. Simko finished with 16 groundouts induced.
The Islanders will now have a five-day respite, as they do not play until Friday, April 29, when Central Arkansas visits Chapman Field for a 2 p.m. contest in the first game of a three-game series. Members of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee will be on hand to collect athletic shoes for the charitable organization Samaritan's Feet all weekend. For more information, go to GoIslanders.com.