March 5, 2009

ISLANDERS JUST MISS SWEEP OF LONGHORNS

The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi softball team just missed a sweep of the Texas Longhorns in a non-conference double header held at Cabaniss Field, winning game one 5-0 and falling in game two by a 9-8 score. It was the first time in the Islanders history they have played host to Texas in Corpus Christi.

The Islanders moved their record to 8-15 on the year while the Longhorns went to 16-5 on the season. Addie Tallman started the first game and pitched a complete game for the win to move to 5-4 on the season while Texas' Brittany Barnhill took the loss to fall to 7-2. Stacie Tassin started game two, taking the loss to fall to 3-10 while reliever Erin Tresselt recorded the win for the Longhorns.

In the first game, the Islanders jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Lauren Sanders singled up the middle to start the inning, followed by a Larissa Martin single to put runners at first and second. A sacrifice bunt from Stephanie Estrada allowed the runners to move up to second and third. Alaina Byars hit a ball to the second baseman to reach on an error while driving in Sanders for the RBI and moving Martin to third. Margo Hurdt drove in Martin from third with a single to second base. Andrea Simancas followed with the hardest hit ball of the inning, unluckily ending up in the third baseman's glove to start an inning-ending double play.

"It was all the kids out there, we executed our offense out there today, getting some bunts down and putting the ball in play," said head coach Jake Schumann. "Margo came up with a big double to get us on the board."

The two teams remained scoreless for the next three-and-one-half innings until the Islanders broke through with three more runs to take a commanding 5-0 lead after five innings. With one out in the inning, Martin walked and Estrada followed with a single down the right field line, putting runners on first and second. Byars reached on an error once again to load the bases.

Sandy Schumann came on to pinch run for Byars. Hurdt was the next batter and doubled over the center fielder's head to score Martin and Estrada while moving Schumann to third. Simancas hit a bunt single to score Schumann and put the Islanders up 5-0.

"We hit some pitches hard today," said Schumann. "They changed their approach and swung at pitches in the strike zone and got them in play."

That was all the Islanders would need as Tallman continued to do as she did all game, shutting down the Longhorns over the final two innings, not allowing a batter to reach past first base to close out the game. Tallman finished with seven innings pitched, giving up seven hits while allowing no runs. She struck out three while walking none.

Hurdt had the big game in the first game, going 2-for-3 with three RBI. Sanders, Martin, Estrada, Simancas, Kim Connelly and Cassie Redman each had one hit apiece. Byars and Simancas had one RBI each for the Islanders.

In game two, the Islanders were down before coming to bat. Two errors and two hits led to four Texas runs, including two unearned runs. TAMUCC was able to get a run back in the bottom half of the first when Martin doubled to left-center field and scored on a Byars' single to right to make it 4-1.

"We got a little satisfied after the first game," said Schumann. "We got smacked in the face but they responded well after the first inning."

The Islanders got another run back in bottom half of the third inning when Sanders singled up the middle, followed by Estrada doubling to left, scoring Sanders all the way from first base to make it 4-2.

The top of the fifth inning saw the Islanders give up four runs on four hits while committing one error to make it 8-2 Longhorns. The Islanders however, would not quit. They added two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning when Byars led off with a double and Schumann came in to pinch run once again. Hurdt grounded out to the shortstop to move Schumann over to third. Simancas singled in Schumann it to make it 8-3. Landry Moore hit into a fielder's choice, with Simancas being thrown out at second base. Connelly then singled and moved Moore to second base. Alejia Cain came on to run for Moore and scored when Redman singled up the middle. The Islanders pulled to within 8-4 before ending the inning.

In the seventh inning, the Longhorns picked up another run to push their lead back to five at 9-4. The Islanders responded with a barrage of runs in the bottom half, just falling short of coming all the way back to win the game. Martin started off the inning with a hit-by-pitch as she got hit in the head on the play. She would shake it off and move to second base on a wild pitch. Estrada grounded out to move Martin to third base where she would eventually score on a wild pitch.

Byars walked and Melissa Casey came on to pinch run for her. Hurdt walked to put runners on first and second. Simancas followed with a single to load the bases with one out. Moore walked to force in Casey to make it 9-6. Connelly then reached on a fielder's choice with Moore being thrown out at second base and Hurdt scoring from third base to put the score at 9-7. The starting pitcher, Desiree Williams then came back on to pitch in the rest of the inning. Redman doubled off of Williams to bring in Simancas, making it 9-8 with runners on second and third. The Islanders were unable to complete the comeback as Sanders struck out to end the game, just missing a clean sweep of the Longhorns.

Redman led the Islanders in the second game with three hits and two RBI. Simancas added three hits and one RBI while Byars had two hits and one RBI. Sanders, Martin, Estrada and Connelly each had one hit for the Islanders. Estrada, Byars, Simancas, Moore and Connelly each had one RBI.

"They never quit and got themselves back in the game," said Schumann. "They gave themselves a chance to win the game in the end."

The Islanders have a quick turnaround as they face the Texas State Bobcats this weekend in a home series at Chapman Field. The two teams play a double header starting at 1 PM on Saturday and a 1 PM single game on Sunday afternoon.