allowed just one run in eight innings to lead the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi baseball team to a 5-1 win over Sam Houston State on Friday night. The Islanders (33-22, 18-14 Southland) moved into a tie with Southeastern Louisiana for third place in the league and matched the school wins record with the victory.
Simko allowed six hits and six walks to improve to 9-6 on the season. The junior punched out three in the triumph. Matt Shelton got the loss after allowing six hits and two walks over five innings of work for the Bearkats (34-21, 17-15). The Islanders can be seeded no lower than fourth in next week's Southland Conference Tournament by virtue of the win.
Matt Holland went 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI in the victory, while Chris Vergne and Weston Montgomery each added two hits. Daniel Nottebart and Luke Plucheck had two hits apiece in the loss for SHSU.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi struck first with a run on three hits in the first inning. Bobby Buckner led off with a bunt single and then advanced 90 feet on a Jeramie Marek sacrifice. Holland followed, and the senior laced a single to left center to score Buckner and extend his hitting streak to 12 games. Trey Hernandez added another single, but a flyout to the warning track and a strikeout ended the frame.
The Islanders tacked on another run in the top of the fourth. Vergne started the rally with a one-out single and then advanced to second on a Jacob Perales walk. Montgomery then came to the plate and laced a double just inside the left-field line to score Vergne for a 2-0 lead. But Shelton rebounded to get a pair of strikeouts to strand two in scoring position.
Simko was effectively wild on the other side, allowing just two hits over the first five innings, but walking four. He also was the beneficiary of a pair of brilliant defensive plays. Buckner made a diving stop on a ball down the line in the third and Marek added a diving stop and backhand flip to second to end the fourth. Trey Hernandez added a heady defensive play as well, gunning down a runner at the plate in the fifth to preserve Simko's shutout.
The Bearkats cracked the board in the bottom of the eighth. John Hale and Nottebart delivered consecutive singles and then a fielder's choice left runners at the corners with two away. Simko then lost control of a breaking ball, and it skittered off the dirt and to the backstop to allow the first run of the game to score. The big lefty then walked the next two hitters, but struck out Kevin Miller to leave them loaded with the Islanders up 2-1.
Just as they did the previous night, the Islanders tacked on a trio of insurance runs in the top of the ninth. Buckner drew a leadoff walk and then Marek reached on a mishandled bunt to put two on and no out. Holland then rapped a single through the right side to plate Buckner for a 3-1 lead. After Hernandez walked to load the bags, Vergne delivered a sac fly to deep center to make it 4-1. Drew Vest added an RBI single through the right side for a 5-1 advantage. Tanner Green set down the side in order to finish the contest.
The Islanders and Bearkats will conclude their series on Sunday with a 1 p.m. start. Live audio and statistics will be available on GoIslanders.com.