CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team (10-13, 2-2 Southland) dropped its series opener against Southeastern Louisiana (13-8, 3-1) by a score of 5-3 on Friday at Chapman Field.
The Islanders got another solid outing from Matt Danton, who picked up a tough loss to move to 4-2 on the season, despite going seven and 2/3 innings while allowing three earned runs on eight hits. He also had the Lions hitters swinging and missing at a high frequency with nine punchouts.
The story on the mound for Southeastern was the bullpen, as Matt Pittari and Mason Klotz combined to go 3 and 2/3 of an inning without allowing a hit or a run.
Jordan Lee and Russell Vaughan both recorded multi-hit outings, tallying four of the team's nine knocks of the evening. However, the Islanders struggled at the dish with runners on, as they stranded a total of 13 baserunners throughout the evening.
The two biggest nights out of the opposing lineup came from leadoff hitters Kyle Cedotal and Jacob Williams who also picked up two knocks to go along with one RBI. The duo also accounted for three runs scored, meaning they were apart of four of the five runs plated on the evening for the Lions.
After Cedotal flied out in the first, Williams set the table with a one-out single. After advancing to third on back-to-back wild pitches, Williams then came in to give the Lions an early 1-0 lead on a single up the middle by Andro Cutura.
However, the Islanders came right back to hang a two-spot to jump out on top in the bottom of the first. It started with a one-out single by Lee, who eventually found himself on third after a groundout and stolen base.
Southeastern came right back to tie the game the following inning, though, as a two-out double by Kennon Menard out of the bottom of the lineup brought the second run of the game in for the Lions to knot the game up.
The back-and-forth offensive action continued in the bottom of the second, as Zack Gibson drew a leadoff walk followed by a single through the left side by Vaughan to put two on with no outs. After Cuturo was able to bounce back to record the next two outs, a passed ball put the Islanders back up, 3-2, as Gibson scampered in to score.
It was then that the pitchers began to settle in, as Danton had consecutive 1-2-3 innings, while Cuturo allowed a few hits, but was able to post clean innings in the third and fourth to keep the score at 3-2.
Danton then hit a bump in the road in the fifth though, allowing a double by Cedotal that fell in down the right field line to bring a score in, before a single later in the inning brought him in to score as well. This two-spot in the top half of the inning put the Lions back on top 4-3.
The Islanders looked like they were poised to make a quick comeback once again, with the first two hitters reaching via a walk and error, but a groundout by Gibson with the bases loaded and two outs eventually put an end to the innings with the Islanders still down by one.
After the Lions' bullpen came on and continued to post zeros in the Islanders' score column, A&M – Corpus Christi looked like it might have a late-inning rally goig, as it juiced the bases in the top of the eighth. Unfortunately, a strikeout by Ware after Mason Klotz came in closed out the inning and ended up sealing the game, as he picked up the save with a perfect 1-2-3 ninth after his team gave him an insurance run in the top of the inning.
The two teams will be back in action for game two of the series Saturday, as it will be another late-night affair with first pitch set for 7:30 p.m. at Chapman Field.
To keep up with the action, be sure to follow the team on Twitter and Instagram (@IslandersBSB) and like them on Facebook (Islanders Baseball). Fans can also watch the game live or follow along with live stats on GoIslanders.com.