CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team saw a late lead slip away as the Southeastern Louisiana Lions rallied from six runs down to take a 13-11 game in 12 innings. The two teams are scheduled for a 2 p.m. first pitch on Saturday at Chapman Field.
The Islanders are now 9-9 overall and 2-2 in Southland Conference play after the loss. SELA improves to 14-5 overall and also move to 2-2 on the year in league play.
Adam Hoelscher got the start for the Islanders, but did not figure in the decision, as he was the first of seven pitchers for the home team, with Phillip Garcia being tagged with the hard-luck loss. Garcia pitched 4.2 innings, giving up four hits and two unearned runs while walking two and striking out four to move to 0-1. Jason Greenleaf, the fourth of five pitchers for SELA, picked up the win to move to 1-0. Stefan Lopez picked up his seventh save of the year for the Lions.
Brad Porras led the Islanders with four hits on the night, as well as tying for the team lead with three RBI. Drew Vest also picked up three runs batted in, while Vest, Jeramie Marek, Eric Weiss and Stafford Brantley had two hits apiece.
In what looked like it would be a pitcher's duel, it was anything but after the first inning and a half.
After going down swinging for all three outs in the first, the Islanders responded in the second with three runs to take the early lead. Kyle Danford and Brantley opened the inning by drawing walks to put two runners on with no outs. Jonathan Gonzales advanced Danford to third on a liner that nearly got over the head of the centerfielder.
With runners on the corners, Brantley stole second to put both in scoring position ahead of a Porras single up the middle to plate both players for a 2-0 lead. Santiago Ruiz and Dan Sciantarelli followed with walks to load the bases, and Marek followed with a sacrifice fly to center to score Porras and make it a 3-0 game.
The Lions picked an unearned run in the top of the third when a batted ball hit first base to get past a diving Porras to bring in the run and then scored another in the fourth to cut the deficit to 3-2.
Texas A&M – Corpus Christi exploded for five runs in the fourth inning on four hits and a walk to seemingly take control of the game. Ruiz started things off with a walk, while Sciantarelli and Marek got back-to-back bunt singles to load the bases. Vest came through in a big way, singling through the left side to bring home Ruiz and Sciantarelli to extend the lead.
The Islanders were not done however, as Weiss stepped to the plate and double off the wall in left to bring home Marek and Vest to extend the lead another two runs. Weiss moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Danford sacrifice fly to center to finish the scoring and make it an 8-2 lead.
SELA responded once again, chipping away with a single run in the top of the fifth to make it an 8-3 score.
Porras led off the bottom half of the fifth with a triple down the right field line, while Ruiz drew his third walk of the game to put runners on the corners. After the first stolen base of the year for Ruiz put runners on second and third, Vest singled through the right side to bring home Porras for a 9-3 score, while Ruiz was thrown out trying to score from second to end the inning.
The Lions scored five runs in the sixth inning without the benefit of a hit as five walks, a hit-by-pitch, an error and a fielder's choice brought in five runs as they pulled within one at 9-8.
The Islanders answered back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning that started off with a Weiss triple to right field. Danford followed with a walk, followed by a single from Brantley to plate Weiss and move Danford to second. After a Gonzales fly out to center moved the lead runner to third, Porras came through with another RBI single to make it an 11-8 game.
Once again SELA responded, scoring three runs to even it at 11-11 following the top of the seventh to come all the way back.
The score remained the same for nearly five innings until the Lions picked up a pair of runs in the top of the 12th to gain a 13-11 lead.
Weiss drew a leadoff walk in the bottom half of the 12th, but the Islanders were unable to do any damage, losing 13-11 in extra innings.
The two teams will play the second game of the series at 2 p.m. on Saturday, with the Islanders Tim Keller facing Jordan Hymel of the Lions on the mound.
Live stats and video will be available by visiting www.GoIslanders.com.
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