CORPUS CHRISTI – Dawson Yates delivered a pinch-hit, walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th to lift the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi baseball team to a 2-1 victory over Lamar and a doubleheader sweep of the Cardinals. The Islanders (30-21, 19-7 Southland) also won the first game, 5-2, to remain a game ahead of Sam Houston State for first place in the league.
Trevor Belicek was masterful in the second game, allowing just two hits and two walks with 12 strikeouts in nine shutout innings. But he had to settle for a no-decision, as he was matched by Chase Angelle for the Cardinals (28-22, 13-13), who scattered five hits in the first nine frames, keeping the Islanders scoreless through nine.
Each team saw its starter rolling from the first pitch of the game, as Belicek and Angelle went back-and-forth, putting zeroes on the board through the first nine. Angelle faced the minimum over the first four, while Belicek didn't allow a runner past first base in all nine innings he worked. Angelle allowed only one runner to go past first in the first nine innings of work. Belicek's 12 Ks were a career high.
Then in the 10th, Lamar mounted a two-out rally against Jacob Dorris. Justin Eckols delivered a single up the middle, and Mason Salazar followed with a double to left-center that put runners on second and third with two away. Jake Sutton followed, and rolled a ball through the right side, plating Eckols with the first run of the game. Dorris emerged without further damage, finishing the inning with a groundout. It marked the first earned run he has allowed in conference since April 5.
Then in the bottom of the 10th, Angelle came out to try to finish the game. He retired Cody Stephens on a wicked liner that found its way into his glove for out number one. Russell Vaughan followed and hit a frozen rope to center. Center fielder Jude Vidrine came in at first, then quickly retreated, and the ball carried over his outstretched glove all the way to the wall, as Vaughan motored all the way to third for a triple.
Dominic Lopez then pinch-hit, and hit a grounder to Salazar, who was drawn in. Salazar threw to the plate, but pinch-runner Jacob Hubert got his foot in before the tag to tie the score. Zack Gibson followed with a pinch-hit single of his own, sending pinch-runner Brandon Guilford to third to set up Yates' heroics. The freshman lifted a ball over the drawn-in outfield, scoring Guilford and setting off a tremendous celebration for the Islanders.
Game one was much more garden variety, as A&M-Corpus Christi used a three-run sixth to rally past Lamar in a 5-2 win. Jordan Lee, Brandon Tierney and Vaughan each had two hits, while Lee scored twice in the victory. Matt Danton collected his seventh win of the season with seven solid frames, scattering nine hits and a walk. Dorris picked up his seventh save of the year with 1/3 of an inning out of the pen.
The Cardinals struck first with a run right out of the gate. Vidrine led off with a double on the very first pitch of the game, and a pair of groundouts plated him for a 1-0 Cardinals lead. But Danton finished off the inning with a strikeout to keep it as a single run.
The Islanders wasted no time getting that run back, stringing together four singles to plate one in the bottom of the first. Lee was the first of three straight singles, as Tierney singled him to third and a looper off the bat of Tyler Ware brought him around to tie the score at 1-1. A Vaughan single loaded the bags with two down, but Zacharias Hardy's fly ball was caught on the track to strand the bases full.
Danton cruised into the fourth, when the Cardinals used a two-out rally to load the bases. The junior got out of it with a groundout, though, to keep it at 1-1. He wasn't as fortunate in the fifth, as Sam Bumpers delivered a looping RBI single to left field with two away to give the visitors a 2-1 lead. He rebounded to finish off the inning, stranding the bases loaded in the frame.
On the other side, starter David Carver rebounded nicely after his tough first inning, using a strong breaking ball to hold the Islanders off the scoreboard and allow just two hits over the next four innings. But A&M-Corpus Christi finally came through in the bottom of the sixth. Stephens led off the frame with a single through the left side, and Vaughan followed with a bunt single of his own. Hardy came up next and laced a single to right field, plating Stephens with the tying run.
Hubert followed with runners at the corners, and the senior came up big, dropping down a safety squeeze, plating Vaughan and giving the Islanders a 3-2 lead. Two batters later, Kyle Danford came through to add to the lead, lacing a single to center, plating Hardy to make the score 4-2. The Islanders added an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh, as Stephens delivered an RBI groundout to score Lee and give the home squad a 5-2 advantage.
The Islanders carried that lead into the top of the ninth, when the Cardinals staged a rally. After the first two batters reached via singles, Kevin Landgrebe struck out the next two hitters to put two on and two out. He walked the next man, though, and Dorris came on to finish off the game on a flyout to left for his seventh save of the season.
The two teams will wrap up the weekend series on Sunday at 1 p.m. on Chapman Field. It will be Senior Day, as the Islanders honor their five seniors – A.J. Longoria, Hubert, Stephens, Tierney and Vaughan. Senior Day ceremonies will start at approximately 12:45. Live video and stats will also be available on GoIslanders.com, with updates provided on Twitter (@IslandersBSB).