SUGAR LAND, Texas – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team saw its 2013 season come to a close on Friday morning, falling in an 8-1 final against Central Arkansas at the Southland Conference Tournament.
The Islanders (33-24) battled the Bears to a scoreless tie until the top of the seventh, when UCA plated eight runs to put the game out of reach. Matt Danton (5-3) was tagged with the loss, pitching a shutout into the top of the seventh before giving up a single and committing an error on a sacrifice bunt. He was lifted after the first run and the Bears used six more hits to break the game open.
Before that point Danton had worked around hits in the first four innings to keep the game at 0-0.
After a final scoreless inning in the sixth, Danton gave up a single to start the seventh and made an error trying to get the lead runner on a sacrifice bunt. After the two runners moved up on a sacrifice bunt and giving up another single for the first run of the game, Franco Pace came on in relief and hit the only batter he faced to load the bases. O'Shea Dumes came in following the hit-by-pitch, but he was unable to get the Islanders out of the inning as he surrendered a grand slam that made it a 5-0 game. UCA added three more to take the 8-0 lead.
The Islanders got on the board for the only time in the bottom of the ninth as Jonathan Gonzales led off with a single, moved to second on an error as Zach Taylor reached on a fielder's choice, and advanced to third on a single by Jordan Lee that loaded the bases. After the first out of the inning, Stafford Brantley singled through the left side to plate Gonzales and make it 8-1 and keep the bases loaded.
It would be all the Islanders could get however, as a double play on the last pitch of the game ended it at 8-1.
Despite the finish in the Southland Conference Tournament, it was perhaps the most successful season in school history, with the team earning its highest ever finish in the league at second place. They also posted 33 wins to tie the second highest total in school history. They also had eight players recognized by the Southland Conference, including three First Team All-Southland members, the most in school history.
"You hate being the last man standing in that circle after talking to those 10 seniors," said head coach Scott Malone. "I want to talk about where they are taking our program, from where we were four or five years ago to finish second in the regular season. You look at the number of all-conference players, it's unheard of for Islanders baseball.
"The talent level is growing. 10 unbelievable seniors, you hate to see their season end. They really changed our program, and they really changed our guys."
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