Strong Pitching Leads Baseball to Doubleheader Sweep
NEW ORLEANS – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team (14-15, 5-3 Southland) rode two solid pitching performances from its starters to a doubleheader sweep against New Orleans (8-16, 1-7) on Saturday at Maestri Field.
Despite going eight innings in game one not allowing a run on four hits, Matt Danton was unable to pick up the win, but put his team in position to take a 1-0 victory in 10 innings.
Trevor Belicek then followed that up with his best performance of the season, picking up his first win by throwing a complete game en route to a 3-2 win. The lefty set down the final 15 hitters of the evening.
The offensive hero in game one for the Islanders was Brandon Tierney, as he picked up a two-out RBI in the top of the 10th to score the first run of the game, which held up as the winning run. Jordan Lee joined him at the top of the lineup with two hits, making the top two in the order 4-for-9 in game one.
In game one it wasn't even until the bottom of the third that either side got a runner into scoring position, as Zack Liberto reached on an error to lead things off and was moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt. However, Danton recorded consecutive groundouts to end the threat.
The Islanders came back in the top of the fourth to get their first runner in scoring position, as Tierney got on with a leadoff single, followed by Stephens reaching on a one-out error. Frankie Salas and Vaughan both flew out to end the inning though.
In the fifth, Danton got out of another jam, as he picked up his second strikeout of the inning to strand runners on second and third.
In the top of the seventh, the Islanders made some noise of their own, as Salas got on with a leadoff single, but was erased on a double play. But the team kept fighting and eventually got runners on first and third with the two outs, but Dawson Yates was thrown out at home after Zack Gibson got caught leaning toward second, leading to a run down that resulted in Yates getting gunned out.
Neither team was able to score before the conclusion of the ninth inning, so the Islanders found themselves in their first extra inning contest of the year.
It did not take long for A&M – Corpus Christi to plate their first run in extras, scoring a run in the top of the 10th. Gibson led things off with a single, and eventually got over to third with two outs. Tierney then came through with the heroics, as he stayed on a pitch and drove it to the left field wall to bring in what would eventually be the winning run.
Game two started off much like the first, with a scoreless first inning, but the Islanders got their offense going in the second. Stephens got things going on a single to center and then stole second to move into scoring position.
With Vaughan up at the plate, the catcher grounded one of to short, and instead of getting the out at first, Samuel Capielano tried to get Stephens at third, but failed to put runners on the corners with just one away. It was another defensive miscue for UNO that plated the first Islanders run, as with Vaughan stealing second, the catcher tried to gun Stephens leaning off first, but the throw went into left to bring Stephens in to score.
Dominic then followed that up with a single up the middle to bring Vaughan in to score to make it a 2-0 Islander lead in the second, already doubling their run production from the first game.
However, the Privateers cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third, but the Islanders were happy to give it to them, trading a run for a double play to go from runners on first and third and no outs to two outs and nobody on.
The Islanders responded in the next half inning though, as after Stephens and Vaughan had back-to-back one-out hits once again, Frankie Salas drove Stephens in on a two-out single through the right side to make it a 3-1 Islander lead.
The Privateers came back in the bottom half of the fifth, leading things off with a double by Capielano. Two consecutive groundouts then moved him up to third and then in to score to cut the lead down to one.
However, those two outs started a consecutive streak of 15 set down by Belicek to end the game, as even though his offense did not push across any more runs he was able to guide the Islanders to securing the doubleheader sweep.
A&M – Corpus Christi and UNO will wrap up their first series against one another Sunday with Devin Skapura facing off against fellow freshman Hunter Medine. First pitch for the series finale is set for 1 p.m.
To keep up with the Islanders during the game, be sure to follow the team on Twitter and Instagram (@IslandersBSB) and like it on Facebook (Islanders Baseball). Fans can also tune in for live audio on GoIslanders.com.