CORPUS CHRISTI – In a game that went back and forth the entire day, with three lead changes in the final three half-innings and a combined 370 pitches, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi's Kyle Danford took the final pitch over the right field wall for a two-run home run to give the Islanders an 11-10 walk-off win and a series sweep over Dallas Baptist.
The Islanders (7-5) earned the three-game sweep over Dallas Baptist (4-7) and went 4-0 on the week after defeating Texas State this past Tuesday. The Islanders needed a rally in the seventh inning of the Saturday game, and went one step further with the rally in their final at-bat to take home the 11-10 win.
Jacob Dorris (1-1) earned the win in relief, giving up the lead in the top of the ninth, but getting out of the inning with the Islanders within striking distance. He pitched 1.1 innings, giving up one run on three hits while walking one and striking out one.
Danford was the hero of the day, going 4-for-5 with five RBI as he staked Texas A&M – Corpus Christi to the early lead with a three-run double, and finished the game with his two-run shot over the wall in right. Zach Taylor and Jonathan Gonzales had three hits apiece, while Jordan Lee had two and Cody Stephens, Brad Porras, Eric Weiss and Brad Lamberti each collected a hit in the game. Weiss had two RBI, while Lee, Lamberti and Taylor had one each.
The action started early, with the Islanders getting four unearned runs in the bottom of the second to take the first lead. Gonzales singled up the middle and moved to second when Lamberti drew a walk. Taylor reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases, as an error by the shortstop allowed Lamberti to reach second safely while Gonzales moved to third. Danford followed with a bases-clearing double to left to make it 3-0. Lee came through with a single through the right side to plate Danford and make it a 4-0 advantage.
The lead was cut in half in the top of the third, with the Patriots scoring a pair of runs on three hits to make it a 4-2 game.
The Islanders responded with a run of their own in the bottom half, as Lamberti singled with two outs, moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on an error during a failed pickoff attempt before coming home on a Taylor double down the left field line to make it 5-2.
A scoreless fourth kept it 5-2, but an onslaught of offense, starting in the fifth inning, ballooned the score over the final five frames.
Dallas Baptist started the run with two runs in the top of the fifth to cut the lead down to one, and tied things up in the sixth with a single run that made it 5-5.
The Islanders responded with a run on a throwing error by the Patriots first baseman that allowed Taylor to score and make it 6-5. It was short lived however, as DBU added another run in the top of the seventh to make it 6-6.
Once again, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi responded with a run to regain the lead. Porras led things off with a double down the left field line, moved to third on a single by Gonzales and came home to score on a wild play. Lamberti appeared to single to right field, but the fielder thought he caught the ball while Porras trotted home. Gonzales, who thought the ball had been caught, went back to first and was forced out at second base to make it a fielder's choice. Lamberti did earn the RBI however, as DBU appealed that Porras left early, but the umpires let the Patriots know that the ball was not ruled a catch and that the Islanders had scored the run to make it 7-6.
The Patriots took their first lead of the game with three runs in the top of the eighth to make it a 9-7 deficit for Texas A&M – Corpus Christi.
As they had done all day, the Islanders rallied once again, this time tying it with two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Lee started the rally with a single to center and moved to third on a Stephens single to left center. Stephens stole second to put two runners in scoring position, but a strikeout for the second out of the inning threatened to end the rally before it could get started. Weiss would not allow it though, placing a ball in right field to score Lee and Stephens and knot it up at 9-9.
DBU scored for the fifth consecutive inning in the top of the ninth, taking a 10-9 lead on a two-out single through the left side to put the Islanders down with just three outs remaining.
The home team had one more rally though, as Taylor singled to leadoff the inning, and moved to second on a pinch-hit sacrifice bunt by Stafford Brantley. With Taylor in scoring position, the Islanders needed just a hit to tie it up once again, but they got a whole lot more from Danford. The right fielder stepped to the plate and took a strike before depositing the 0-1 pitch into the parking lot past right field to give his team a walk-off 11-10 win over the Patriots for the three-game sweep.
For the week, Danford hit .538 with a double, a home run, seven runs scored and six RBI to help lead the team to a 4-0 record over Texas State and Dallas Baptist.
The Islanders will have one more home game this coming week, facing off against Incarnate Word on Wednesday in a 6:30 p.m. game at Chapman Field, before hitting the road for a three-game series at Houston on March 8-10 at Cougar Field.
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