The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi baseball team scored two in the sixth and two in the seventh to come from behind in a 4-3 victory over Central Arkansas on Friday at Chapman Field. Justin Meza struck out nine in a no-decision for the Islanders (24-21, 9-13 Southland), who drew into a tie with UCA (19-22, 9-13) after the win.
Meza struggled early on, allowing six hits in the first two innings, but finished strong, allowing only a bloop hit and a grounder off the first-base bag the rest of the way. He now has 76 punchouts on the year, the second-best total in the conference. Philip Garcia pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings to tally his third save of the season, while Chris Pena got the win out of the pen. Ryan Angus recorded 10 strikeouts in a no-decision for UCA, while Andy Steinmetz was carded with the loss, allowing two runs, one earned, in two innings of work.
Five different Islanders each had one hit, while four different players scored runs. Michael Pair had two hits, while Zack Dickson drove in two runs in the loss for UCA.
The Bears struck first in the top of the second, plating a pair of runs with two outs. With Pair on via single, Dickson sliced a ball down the right-field line that carried all the way to the wall for a triple to make it 1-0. Kyle Prevett followed by lining a ball to center to plate the second run with a 2-0 UCA lead. The Bears added a run in the top of the fourth when Dickson notched an RBI groundout.
The Islanders rallied to load the bases with two walks and an infield single with one down in the bottom of the fourth for Weston Montgomery. The shortstop rototilled a ball, but it went right to Prevett at shortstop for a lineout. Angus then responded by striking out Jumpy Garcia to end the inning.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi cracked the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth. A leadoff double and two walks loaded the bases with nobody out for Garcia. The junior hit a ball hard, but right at the shortstop for a 6-4-3 double play to plate the first Islanders run. Logan Nottebrok followed and sliced a ball to deep right center for an RBI triple to make it 3-2 in favor of the visitors.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Islanders added two more runs to gain the lead. Jeramie Marek was hit by a pitch with one away, and then Matt Holland advanced him 90 feet on a single to right. After a flyout moved Marek to third, Steinmetz threw a ball in the dirt to allow Marek to score to knot the game up at 3-3. Chris Vergne then lofted a flyball down the left-field line, but Prevett, coming over from short, couldn't handle it and Holland came in to score the go-ahead run.
The Islanders walked the tightrope in the closing innings. After the Bears left the bases loaded in the seventh, with Chris Pena putting out the fire, the visitors rallied with two outs in the ninth. Philip Garcia got the first two batters on groundouts, then walked Brian Willson. Blake Roberts came to the dish next, and smoked an 0-2 pitch to deep left center, but the ball caromed over the fence for a ground-rule double instead of allowing Willson to score. Garcia bounced back to get Greg Noble swinging to end the game.
The Islanders and Bears will continue their series on Saturday at 2p.m. at Chapman Field with the finale set for Sunday at 1 p.m. Members of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee will be on hand at both games to collect athletic shoes for the charitable organization Samaritan's Feet all weekend. For more information, go to GoIslanders.com.