CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Baseball team lost the lead late against Dallas Baptist on Saturday afternoon, but rallied in the seventh inning to take a 6-3 victory and clinch the series win. The two teams will play the finale on Sunday, with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. at Chapman Field.
The Islanders (6-5) got back above .500 with the win, and did so against a team that appeared in the NCAA Tournament a year ago, and has reached the Super Regional round in recent years. Dallas Baptist (4-5) lost another close game as Islanders pitching did enough to get the victory.
Matt Danton came on in relief after the Islanders lost the lead and held to Patriots hitless over two full innings, pitching the seventh and eighth in no-hit fashion and allowing no runs while walking one and striking out none. Jacob Dorris came on and made things interesting before earning his second save of the year in a scoreless ninth inning.
For the second straight day, the Islanders staked themselves to an early lead, scoring a single run in both the second and third innings as Tyler Schnuriger pitched well early on.
Jonathan Gonzales led off the second with a walk and moved to third when Russell Vaughan reached on a sacrifice bunt as he collided with the first baseman to reach safely on a throwing error by the pitcher. Gonzales alertly moved all the way to third as the ball rolled away from the first baseman to put runners on the corners. Zach Taylor laid down an RBI sacrifice bunt to score Gonzales and make it a 1-0 game.
The team added to the lead in the bottom of the third inning when Cody Stephens took DBU starter Cy Sneed deep down the left field line for the first home run of his Islanders career and a 2-0 lead.
DBU answered back in the top of the fourth with a Ronnie Mitchell walk and a Nash Knight triple to score Mitchell and make it 2-1.
The score remained the same until the top of the sixth, when Trevor Belicek, who came on in relief of Schnuriger, got into trouble and surrendered two runs for a 3-2 Islanders deficit.
The team would not be denied however, getting three runs on just one hit while Dallas Baptist committed two errors in the bottom of the seventh as Texas A&M – Corpus Christi regained the lead.
Vaughan walked to leadoff the inning and was lifted for pinch runner Kyle Danford. After another sacrifice bunt by Taylor moved Danford to second, the Patriots made a pitching change to bring in Michael Smith. The very first pitch from Smith to pinch hitter Brad Lamberti was a wild one that allowed Danford to move to third, and a throwing error by the catcher allowed him to score to tie things up at 3-3. From that point on, Smith continued to struggle.
Lamberti earned a walk and was followed by a Jordan Lee single to second that produced a wild throw from the second baseman, allowing the runners to move to second and third. After Stephens walked to load the bases, another pitching change was made as the Patriots brought in Paul Voelker to try limiting the damage.
The plan did not work however, as Brad Porras reached on a fielder's choice, beating out the throw to avoid the double play and scoring Lamberti for the RBI. With runners on first and third, Porras stole second, stopping halfway down to draw the throw, and Lee came home on a delayed steal to make it 5-3.
The Islanders added another run in the bottom of the eighth, with Dominic Lopez breaking out of a slump with a single to left, and was followed by a single by Danford through the right side. Lamberti came through with an RBI single to plate Lopez for the 6-3 advantage.
That is when Dorris came on to close it out in the ninth, but he did not do so without a little excitement. After hitting the leadoff batter with a pitch, Dorris struck the next player out swinging. With one away, Dorris hit another batter, but he would settle down, striking out the next batter for the second out and getting a fly out to Eric Weiss in center field for the final out of the game.
Porras led the Islanders with a two-hit game, his second in as many days, while Lee, Stephens, Weiss, Lopez, Danford, Taylor and Lamberti each had one hit in the game. Stephens, Porras, Taylor and Lamberti drove in a run apiece for Texas A&M – Corpus Christi.
The teams will close out the series on Sunday, with Adam Hoelscher getting the starting nod for the Islanders, and Cory Taylor going for the Patriots. First pitch is set for 1 p.m., with live stats and video available by visiting www.GoIslanders.com.
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