May 4, 2014

Baseball Sweeps ACU, Takes Sole Possesion of First in Southland

CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team was able to pick up its third Southland Conference road sweep of the season, as it held off Abilene Christian 11-10 in a wild series finale on Sunday.

With the victory, paired with a loss by Nicholls, the Islanders (28-21, 17-7 Southland) are now in sole possession of first place in the conference. The team has also dominated league opponents on the road, with an 11-1 record away from home in four conference series.

The Islanders took advantage of several Wildcat (16-28, 5-13) mistakes, as ACU committed six errors, allowing A&M – Corpus Christi to score 11 runs on just seven hits. Kyle Danford was the only Islander to notch a multi-hit game, going 2-for-5 with two RBIs to give him five in the series.

Despite each picking up one hit apiece, both Russell Vaughan and Zack Gibson were able to drive in runs in other ways, accounting for five RBIs together. Vaughan led the team with three, while Gibson tallied two. Josh Garza added two as well without a hit in the game.

For the second straight game, the Islanders jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, this time in the top of the second. An error to lead off the inning put Cody Stephens on second, before back-to-back singles put the visitors on top 1-0. With the bases loaded, a sacrifice fly by Gibson that advanced all the runners, while plating the second run, before a fielder's choice by Garza put the Islanders up by three.

However, the Islanders were unable to get a shut-down inning in the bottom of the second, as three errors and three hits as well as a hit batter and walk brought five runs in to score for ACU to put the Wildcats up by two.

A&M – Corpus Christi was able to bring the momentum back to its side the next half inning, though, as the Islanders were able to hang three runs in its second straight inning. Brandon Tierney started the inning by getting plunked to become the career leader in school history with 27 hit by pitches.

The Islanders followed that up with four hits throughout the rest of the inning, with RBI singles from Stephens and Danford, as well as a sacrifice fly by Vaughan put the Islanders back up by one.

With the score remaining at 6-5 going into the fifth, A&M – Corpus Christi looked like it might have put the game away by hanging five runs in the top of the inning. The Islanders mostly took advantage of some poor defensive play by the Wildcats, as ACU committed three errors in the half inning, as well as hitting a batter and issuing a walk. In fact, the only hit of the inning came on a double by Vaughan that brought in two runs.

The Wildcats would not go down without a fight though, as they cut the gap from six to two by scoring four runs in the bottom half of the fifth. Four straight hits with one out, followed by an error with two outs led to the runs, cutting the Islanders' lead to 11-9.

ACU was able to trim the lead to one in the next inning, as another two-out error allowed a run to come in. However, Kevin Landgrebe was able to pick up a strikeout to strand the tying run on third.

Landgrebe came back out and threw a scoreless seventh, before Jacob Dorris came on and allowed just one hit in the final two innings to pick up his sixth save of the season, while giving Landgrebe his sixth victory of the year.

The team will now have the rest of the week off, before returning to Southland play next weekend with a three-game set against Lamar starting on Friday. The series will mark the final three home games of the season for the Islanders.

To keep up with Islanders during the homestretch of the regular season, fans can follow the team on Twitter and Instagram (@IslandersBSB) and like it on Facebook (Islanders Baseball).