CORPUS CHRISTI – Nine-hole hitter Russell Vaughan went 4-for-4 and drove in four runs to lead the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi baseball team to a 9-4 victory over Central Arkansas on Sunday at Chapman Field. The Islanders (8-13, 2-1 Southland) emerged victorious in their first Southland series of the year with the win.
The bottom of the order did the bulk of the damage for A&M-Corpus Christi, as the 5-9 hitters scored all nine runs and were responsible for 10 of the Islanders' 13 hits. Kyle Danford, Cody Stephens and Dawson Yates each had multiple-hit games, with Yates delivering a pair of RBI.
Kevin Landgrebe picked up the win with a stellar outing out of the bullpen, striking out four in 2 2/3 innings with four strikeouts. Devin Skapura was credited with a no-decision, allowing three runs in 4 1/3 innings of work, while Kaleb Keith pitched the final two innings, surrendering just one run.
Chris Caudle was carded with the loss, surrendering four runs in 4 1/3 innings of work for the Bears (9-8, 1-2). Chris Townsend had two hits and drove in a pair, while Joey Pinney, Justin Treece and Charles Deckard each had multi-hit games.
The Bears struck first with a run in the top of the second. Pinney started things with a single up the middle and he advanced on a sacrifice. Treece then looped a single to center, and Pinney held at third, but Treece was able to advance to second as the throw airmailed the cutoff man. Scott Zimmerle then added an infield single to load the bases with one away. Charles Deckard supplied the first run on a sac fly to left to make it 1-0.
A&M-Corpus Christi wasted no time in responding, plating a pair of runs in the bottom of the second. Stephens sent the first pitch he saw into right field, then swiped second on the first pitch to Yates. Yates then dribbled a ball up the middle, sending Stephens around to knot the score 1-1. After Yates moved to second on a sacrifice and third on a grounder, Vaughan smashed a single to center to put the Islanders ahead 2-1.
The Bears came right back with a crooked number of their own, though, plating two in the top of the third. Tyler Langley led off with a walk, but he was replaced on the base paths when Doug Votolato bounced into a fielder's choice. Votolato then stole second, and Townsend looped a single inside the right-field line. The throw came to the plate, but Votolato beat it there and Townsend moved up to second on the throw with the game tied at 2. Pinney then rolled a single through the left side to plate Townsend and make it a 3-2 UCA lead.
Caudle settled in on the other side, retiring seven straight heading to the bottom of the fifth. But he surrendered a four-pitch walk to Josh Garza, and Vaughan followed by ripping a ball over the first-base bag and into the right-field corner for an RBI triple, tying the score at 3. Jordan Lee followed with a sac fly to left, plating Vaughan to put the Islanders back ahead 4-3.
Landgrebe really settled in on the other side, putting out a first in the fifth, then striking out four and allowing just one base runner over the following two innings. The Islanders bats picked him up with a trio of insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh on the strength of the bottom of the order. Frankie Salas and Garza started things with back-to-back singles, then Vaughan blistered an RBI base knock to right to make it 5-3. After Brandon Tierney walked to load the bases, Tyler Ware delivered a run-scoring groundout to push the lead to 6-3. Danford added on an infield single to score Vaughan for a 7-3 advantage.
The Islanders tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth. Stephens led off the frame with a single, and he stole second to move into scoring position. Yates then put forth a strong battle at the plate, spoiling pitches and finally lacing a double to the left-center field gap to make it 8-3. Two batters later, Vaughan delivered an RBI single to make it 9-3. The Bears cut the lead to 9-4 in the ninth, but that was as close as the visitors would get, as Keith finished it off by inducing a 4-6-3 double play.
A&M-Corpus Christi will return to Chapman Field on Tuesday, when it plays host to a doubleheader against Texas-Pan American starting at 2 p.m. Live stats and video will be online at GoIslanders.com, with updates being provided throughout the day on Twitter (@IslandersBSB).