Simko, Islanders Bats Help Islanders Cruise Past UCA, 13-2CORPUS CHRISTI - Todd Simko
pitched his second straight complete game, allowing just three hits and no walks to go with seven strikeouts in the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi baseball team's 13-2 win over Central Arkansas on Sunday. The Islanders (26-21, 11-13 Southland) finished off the series sweep of the Bears (19-24, 9-15) to win their fourth straight game and remain in seventh place in the conference with three series remaining.
Chris Vergne had two solo home runs for the Islanders, while Omar Garcia went 2-for-3 with three RBI in the win. Matt Holland and Jacob Perales each added two hits, while Perales and Bobby Buckner each scored three times. Santiago Ruiz and Jeramie Marek each had key two-run hits for the Islanders early on. Matt Bauer hit a solo home run in the loss for the Bears.
Simko allowed just three hits in the game and got groundout after groundout in the affair. The junior forced 11 groundouts to just two flyouts in the game, and has forced 27 groundouts to just five hits allowed over his last 16 innings of work. Ethan McKinzie picked up the loss after allowing eight hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi got out to a 3-0 lead in the second. Holland led off with a single and Perales reached on an E6 to follow. A single by Buckner then loaded the bags with nobody out, and a wild pitch made it 1-0. Two batters later, the Islanders had runners on second and third and two outs, and Ruiz came through with a line-drive triple to center to score a pair and make it 3-0. The Bears were able to use a double and a single in the top of the third to make it a 3-1 score.
But the Islanders erupted in the bottom of the third for five runs to push the advantage to 8-1. Vergne led off with a solo home run, and then a walk and two singles loaded the bases with nobody out. Buckner lofted a popup to deep short, and Hernandez was able to tag and score to make it a 5-1 ballgame. After a strikeout, Garcia roped a single to right center to bring Holland home with the sixth Islanders run, and after Ruiz was hit by a pitch, Marek slammed a single into left center to bring two more runners home for a seven-run lead.
The home squad added two more in the bottom of the fourth to make it 10-1. Perales started things with a one-out single and Buckner followed with a walk. The duo pulled off a double steal on a strikeout to move into scoring position, and Garcia came through again, ripping a single to center to plate both runners for a nine-run lead.
Meanwhile, Simko was dealing. The big lefty set down the Bears 1-2-3 in both the first and the second, and after hitting a speed bump with two hits and a run allowed in the third, retired the side in order in both the fourth and fifth to keep UCA at bay. Of the first 15 outs he recorded, only one was in the air - a popup that Simko caught himself - to go along with eight groundouts and six punchouts.
Vergne's second longball of the game pushed it to 11-1 in the bottom of the fifth. The bomb was nearly identical to his first, as he obliterated a Logan Ariola offering over the right-field wall for his second career multi-homer game. He had a pair of homers and five RBI against UT-Brownsville on March 9, 2010. After the Islanders plated two more in the bottom of the sixth, UCA got its final run on a wind-aided solo homer with two outs in the seventh off Simko, but the lefty got a lineout to right to end the game via the run rule immediately after.
The Islanders are now off until next weekend, when they travel to Arlington, Texas, for a three-game series with UT-Arlington. Live audio and statistics will be available the whole series on GoIslanders.com.