CORPUS CHRISTI – Trevor Belicek pitched a solid seven innings, and the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team got all the offense it needed in the first inning of a 3-1 victory over McNeese State on Saturday night at Chapman Field. The Islanders improved to 12-8 in Southland play with the win to keep pace with the rest of the conference.
Bryce Kingsley pitched eight strong innings for McNeese, scattering nine hits and allowing just one earned run, falling to 6-5 with the tough-luck loss. Each of the nine hitters for the Cowboys had a solitary base hit in a losing effort.
Early on, it didn't appear as if it would be such a pitcher's duel. McNeese came out aggressively against Belicek, with Reed Gordy starting the rally with a one-out triple to deep right center. Michael Sullivan followed with a single to bring home Gordy and give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
But the Islanders came right back with a three-spot in the bottom of the frame. Taylor started it with a bang, ripping the first pitch he saw for a triple to deep right center. Cody Stephens followed with a walk, and then Eric Weiss dribbled a grounder to deep second. Klouser tried to touch the bag at second, but Stephens beat him there and then the McNeese second baseman threw it away, sending the runners to second and third with nobody out. Johnathan Gonzales followed with a sac fly, and then Brad Porras added an RBI groundout to make it 3-1.
But from there on, it was all zeroes on the scoreboard. In the top of the second, though, McNeese made it look like it might be a short outing for Belicek. The sophomore got the first two Cowboys with ease, but three straight singles loaded the bases with two down. Belicek rebounded to retire Gordy on a popout to short to end the inning, however. The Cowboys amassed six hits in the first two frames off the southpaw.
At that point, both pitchers took over. The Islanders threatened in the bottom of the fourth, with Lee and Stafford Brantley each singling to put two on and one out, but Kingsley got Russell Vaughan on strikes and Taylor grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning. McNeese got a pair of runners on in both the sixth and the seventh, but both times Belicek was able to emerge unscathed.
The Islanders went to O'Shea Dumes out of the pen in the eighth, and he posted a strong outing, working around a two-out walk to hand it over to Dorris. The righty got a pair of easy groundouts to start the ninth, then the game ended on a sparkling play by Taylor, as he went deep in the hole and used a jump throw to gun down Gordy at first to end the ballgame. The game took just 1:48 to complete.
The two teams will finish off their three-game series on Sunday at Chapman Field. The game is slated for a 1 p.m. first pitch, as Matt Danton will get the ball for A&M – Corpus Christi. Jason Gibson is the projected starter for the Cowboys. Live stats and video will be available on GoIslanders.com, and updates will be provided throughout the game on Twitter (@CorpusBaseball).