HUNTSVILLE, Texas – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Baseball team was down 5-3 and down to its final out, but Cody Stephens came through with a big two-RBI single with two outs in the top of the ninth to tie the game and give his team new life. He did more of the same in the top of the 11th, picking up the game-winning RBI on a single to give his team a 6-5 win over Sam Houston State in the second game of the Southland Conference series.
The Islanders (13-10, 1-1 Southland) never gave up despite being down by multiple runs in the ninth, and rallied over Sam Houston (11-11, 1-1 Southland) for the big win. Stephens went 3-for-6 with three RBI on the night to lead his team to the dramatic win.
Matt Danton (2-0) picked up the win after coming on in relief when the Islanders got down 5-3 in the bottom of the eighth in a tight spot, allowing a single that loaded the bases, but then striking out the next two batters he faced to end it with just a two-run deficit. He pitched 3.2 innings and allowed just two hits and no runs while striking out two and walking none. Starter Trevor Belicek pitched well for the Islanders, but had a no decision in the game. He pitched 7.0 innings and gave up four runs, three of them earned, on nine hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
After getting just one hit and no runs in the Friday night game, the Islanders scored first on Saturday, getting a run on two hits in the top of the first for an early lead. Stephens led the game off with a single, moved to second on a Zach Taylor groundout, went to third on an Eric Weiss single to center and came home to score on an RBI groundout by Jonathan Gonzales for the 1-0 lead.
The Bearkats answered with two runs in the bottom of the second inning to take their first lead of the game, plating two on three hits to make it a 2-1 game.
The Islanders tied it in the top of the fifth, scoring after Brandon Tierney reached on an error, moved to second on a balk, moved to third on a fly out to right field, and then came home to score on an RBI single from Taylor to tie it at 2-2.
Sam Houston answered with a run in the bottom of the fifth to quickly regain the lead, but Texas A&M – Corpus Christi answered once again in the top of the sixth.
Eric Weiss walked and moved to second on a balk, but he was thrown out on a fielder's choice that looked to eliminate the Islanders threat. Jonathan Gonzales reached on the fielder's choice and moved to third on a double by Brad Porras down the right field line. That brought Lee to the plate where he hit a sacrifice fly into foul territory in left field, scoring Gonzales from third and knotting the score at 3-3.
It remained that way until the bottom of the eighth inning when the Bearkats plated two runs on four hits, but Danton came on to limit the damage when he struck out the final two batters with the bases loaded.
That sent it to the ninth inning. Lee started the frame off with a walk and advanced to second on a single by Dominic Lopez to center. After a groundout left the Islanders with just one out in the game, Stephens came through with a single up the middle to plate both runners and tie it up at 5-5.
The score remained the same until the top of the 11th when Lee led off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Russell Vaughan. A strikeout swinging made it two away and down to their final out of the inning once again, but just like before, Stephens came through, hitting a fly ball to center to score Lee and make it a 6-5 advantage for Texas A&M – Corpus Christi.
Danton came back out in the bottom of the 11th and got a 1-2-3 inning to end it and give his team the win.
In addition to Stephens three hits, Taylor and Lee each had multiple in the game, getting two each in the game. Weiss, Porras and Lopez had one apiece. Taylor, Gonzales and Lee each added one RBI in the game for the team.
The two teams will play the rubber match at 1 p.m. Sunday, with both vying for the series win. Adam Hoelscher will be on the mound for the Islanders, while Sam Houston's starter will be Caleb Smith.
Live stats and audio will be available by visiting www.GoIslanders.com.
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