ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team lost 8-7 on Saturday afternoon, but they were still able to clinch a spot in the Southland Conference Tournament that starts next week. The Islanders will play Sam Houston State at 12 p.m. next Wednesday in the first round of the tournament.
In the final game of the regular season, the Islanders held an early lead, fell behind, regained the advantage, and then lost late against UT Arlington to finish the weekend.
Texas A&M – Corpus Christi finishes the regular season 23-31 overall, and were 14-19 in Southland Conference games. UTA finished 32-23, 19-14 in league play. Phillip Garcia got the start for the Islanders, going 4.2 innings and giving up four runs, two of them earned, on six hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
Garcia was the first of six pitchers, as the Mavs worked their way back into the game until scoring the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Adam Hoelscher was tagged with the loss to go to 6-7 on the season.
The team tied a season high with 17 hits, led by Brad Porras with a 4-for-5 day. Jeramie Marek and Eric Weiss had three hits apiece, Drew Vest, Jonathan Gonzales and Santiago Ruiz had two hits each, and Jordan Lee rounded the lineup out with one hit on the day.
In a game of many chances, the Islanders were the first to take advantage, scoring a single run in the top of the third inning. Marek started things off with a single to right, and moved to second on a Drew Vest single. After a pitch hit Jonathan Gonzales, the bases were loaded for Jordan Lee. The left fielder singled to left, scoring Marek for the first run of the game to make it 1-0 while Vest was called out on a play at the plate.
The Mavs scored two runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 2-1 lead, but the Islanders responded with three in the top of the fourth to regain the lead.
Porras started things off with a single to left field, and moved to third on a Weiss double. Stafford Brantley grounded out to second to score Porras and tie the game, and was followed by a Ruiz bunt single that score Weiss to make it a 3-2 lead. Marek then walked to move Ruiz to second, and a Gonzales single to left scored Ruiz to make it a 4-2 game.
They added three more in the fifth, with Porras leading things off with another single, and moving to second on a single by Weiss. After Brantley walked to load the bases, the Islanders looked like they would score a run, but the ball hit Weiss on a single by Ruiz to keep the bases loaded, but with two outs. It would not stop the team from getting runs however, as Marek singled to center to score two and make it a 6-2 lead. Vest followed with a double down the left field line to score Ruiz for a 7-2 score.
UTA got back three runs in the bottom of the inning to cut it to 7-5, and then scored single runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth to take an 8-7 final.
Now the Islanders must turn their attention to Southland Conference Champion Sam Houston State in the first round of the tournament. The two teams play at noon on Wednesday, May 23 at Bobcat Ballpark on the campus of Texas State.
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