Islanders Upset No. 1 Seed Sam Houston State in Southland Tournament Opener
SAN MARCOS, Texas – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi offense started fast and never looked back, chasing Sam Houston State starting pitcher Caleb Smith after 1.1 innings on the way to a 9-2 win over the top-seeded Bearkats. The Islanders will play UT Arlington at 4 p.m. on Thursday afternoon in the winner's bracket game.
The win moved the Islanders to 24-31 on the year, while the Bearkats are now 36-19 after the opener. Daniel Minor picked up the win, pitching 8.0 innings while giving up two runs, only one earned, on eight hits with one walk and three strikeouts. The win was his 10th of the season, tying the school record set last year by Todd Simko.
It was the second time the Islanders have upset the No. 1-seeded team in the first round, with the other coming over UTSA by a 7-5 score in the 2008 tournament.
The top of the first inning set the tone for the game, with Texas A&M – Corpus Christi scoring four runs on five hits to take the early lead. On the day, Drew Vest, Brad Porras and Jordan Lee each had two hits, while Porras and Eric Weiss had one home run apiece. Weiss, Jonathan Gonzales and Weston Montgomery drove in two runs each, while Weiss, Gonzales, Montgomery, Jeramie Marek, Santiago Ruiz, Dan Sciantarelli and Stafford Brantley had one each in the game.
Things started quickly for the Islanders, with Weiss leading the game off with a solo home run down the left field line to make it a 1-0 lead. Vest followed with a single, but was eliminated on the bases when Gonzales hit into a fielder's choice. Following the out, Porras doubled down the right field line, with Gonzales moving to third on the play.
Montgomery came up with a big two-run single to score Gonzales and Porras for a 3-0 lead. The final run of the inning came when Lee followed with a run-scoring triple to right center that scored Montgomery to make it 4-0 after the top of the first inning.
In the bottom half of the inning, Sam Houston picked up one run on two hits to cut the deficit to 4-1.
Texas A&M – Corpus Christi added three more runs in the top of the sixth to extend the lead. Lee led off with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Marek and went to third on a Ruiz groundout. A pitch hit Sciantarelli to put runners on first and third, and Weiss followed by reaching on an error that allowed Lee to score from third.
A Vest walk loaded the bases for Gonzales, and the Islanders designated hitter came through with two RBI on a single up the middle to make it a 7-1 game.
In the bottom of the sixth, Sam Houston got a run back, scoring it unearned after a throwing error allowed the runner to move up a base, and then come home on a fielder's choice.
Porras led off the top of the ninth inning with his third home run of the year, a monster shot into the Bobcats softball field over the left field wall. All three of Porras' homers this season have come against Sam Houston. The solo shot made it an 8-2 lead over the Bearkats.
After the leadoff homer, singles by Lee and Marek put runners on first and second, while a groundout moved the runners up a base. Brantley followed with a single through the left side to score Lee for a 9-2 lead, while Marek was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, Tanner Green came on to close it out, getting a 1-2-3 inning to finish off the game against the Bearkats for a 9-2 victory.
Next up for the Islanders will be a 4 p.m. game against the UT Arlington Mavericks. The two teams faced off last weekend, with the Mavericks taking all three games of the series in Arlington.
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