The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi baseball team finished off a three-game sweep of UT Arlington with a 3-2 victory on Sunday at Clay Gould Ballpark. The Islanders bullpen allowed just one baserunner over the final 3 1/3 innings of work to hold off the Mavericks to earn the seventh straight victory for the Islanders (29-21, 14-13 Southland). The Islanders are now in sole possession of fifth place in the conference.
Chris Pena, Tanner Green, Adam Hoelscher and Philip Garcia combined to allow just one hit in relief of Todd Simko. Simko went 5 2/3 innings, scattering seven hits and four walks, allowing a pair of runs to improve to 8-6 on the year. John Beck was carded with the loss after allowing 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Matt Holland went 3-for-5 in the game for the Islanders, his third straight three-hit contest, while Santiago Ruiz had a 3-for-4 day. Trey Hernandez and Chris Vergne each finished 2-for-5 with an RBI apiece. Ryan Walker went 3-for-5 in the loss for the Mavs.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi got on the board in the top of the first on an infield single and a pair of errors. Holland started the rally with a squibber just behind the second base bag with two down. Hernandez followed by slicing a ball down the right-field line, and it went off the glove of Preston Beck for a two-base error, as Holland scored to make it 1-0. The Mavs committed a second error, but emerged without further damage as a strikeout ended the inning.
UTA cracked the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth. Jesse Payne looped a double just inside the left-field line with one away, and two batters later Daniel Jordan came through with a single up the middle to score him and knot the game up 1-1.
In the fifth, the Islanders regained the lead with a pair of runs on five hits. After a single and a double play left two out and nobody on, Jeramie Marek started the rally with an infield single. Holland followed with a single to left, and then Hernandez ripped a single to right center to score Marek for a 2-1 lead. Vergne followed, drilling a ball through the right side, and Holland came across to make it 3-1 Islanders.
UTA chased Simko from the game in the bottom of the sixth. A one-out triple by Jordan Vaughn was followed by an RBI groundout to make it 3-2. Then, two walks and an infield single loaded the bases for Beck, and the call went to Pena out of the pen. Beck got ahead 2-1, but Pena got the slugger to line out to right to end the inning with no further damage. Pena, Green and Hoelscher got the Islanders through to the ninth inning with a 3-2 edge.
In the ninth, the Islanders put a pair of runners on with two out, but were unable to push an insurance run across. Garcia made that irrelevant, though, as he set down the Mavericks 2-3-4 hitters in order to finish off the game. It marked his fifth save of the season and the seventh of his career, matching the school record. Garcia finished all three victories for the Islanders on the weekend.
The Islanders return home next weekend for a three-game series against Northwestern State. Friday and Saturday will feature a 2 p.m. first pitch at Chapman Field, while Sunday will be a 1 p.m. start. Sunday will also be Senior Day, as the Islanders will pay tribute to their 10 seniors, who will be playing in their final home game that afternoon.