Daniel Rockett's sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th inning lifted UTSA to a 3-2 win over the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi baseball team on Wednesday in the opening round of the Southland Conference Tournament. The Islanders are now 34-23 on the 2011 season.
Jeramie Marek, Matt Holland and Santiago Ruiz each had two hits in a losing effort for the Islanders, while R.J. Perucki and Ryan Dalton each delivered two hits for UTSA. Rockett drove in two runs in the contest for the Roadrunners.
Kevin Clarke got the win out of the bullpen with 1 1/3 shutout innings in relief of Casey Selsor. Selsor scattered 10 hits and one walk to allow just two runs in his 8 2/3 innings. Phillip Garcia was the tough-luck loser for the Islanders in the 10th after putting out the fire in the ninth with a brilliant play. Ian Campbell struck out seven men in seven innings in a no-decision.
The Islanders struck with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third to take a 2-0 lead. Marek was hit by a pitch to start the frame, then stole second. Weston Montgomery then came through with a single up the middle, plating Marek and advancing to second base on the throw home. Trey Hernandez followed with a single up the middle to plate Montgomery with the second run for a two-run Islanders advantage.
But UTSA struck back with two runs in the top of the fourth. A double and three straight singles to start the inning knotted the game up at 2-2. But Campbell was able to work his way out of further damage, getting a popout and two liners to his outfielders to strand a pair of Roadrunners on the bases and limit the damage.
From there on, both starters settled in, though, with Campbell and Selsor continuing to put zeroes on the board through seven innings. Both pitchers delivered bend-but-don't-break performances, allowing runners to get on base, but getting key double plays and stranding runners in each scenario. In the seventh, the Roadrunners rallied to put runners at the corners with two down when Logan Nottebrok made a crucial play on a slow roller to end the inning.
Campbell gave way to Adam Hoelscher, who delivered a 1-2-3 eighth, but that was matched by Selsor, who retired the Islanders in quick fashion in the bottom of the frame. In the top of the ninth, Selsor got a bloop double to lead off the frame, then moved to third on a sac bunt. Chris Pena came on to get a strikeout, and then Garcia made a brilliant play on a slow chopper to end the ninth.
In the top of the 10th, the Roadrunners got a leadoff double from Tyler Carpenter, and that was followed by a Ryan Dalton bunt single. Garcia got a lineout for the first out of the frame, but Rockett followed with a sac fly to center to make it 3-2. The Islanders responded by getting Marek and Hernandez aboard with two outs for Holland in the bottom of the 10th. The lefty rocked a pitch to right, but it hung up just long enough for Jason Mohn to grab it and end the ballgame.
The Islanders will now take on the loser of the Lamar/Stephen F. Austin game on Thursday morning at 9 a.m. in the tournament's first elimination game. Live statistics and audio will be available on GoIslanders.com, while live video will be streamed on Southland.org on SLC Now. Stay tuned to GoIslanders.com for all the latest on Islanders baseball.