Huntsville The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi softball team fell in a pair of two-run Southland Conference games on the road against Sam Houston. The Islanders lost the first game 4-2 and the second game by a 5-3 margin.
The Islanders move to 13-25 on the year and 4-12 in SLC games. The Bearkats improve to 14-14 overall with a 7-7 SLC record. Addie Tallman started game one for the Islanders and fell to 10-10 on the year. Margo Hurdt started the second game, taking the loss to fall to 0-1 on the year.
In the early game, the Islanders fell behind in the third inning when Sam Houston put up a pair of runs on four hits to take an early 2-0 lead. In the sixth inning, the Islanders answered back with a pair of runs to knot the game at 2-2. After a Stephanie Estrada double to right centerfield with one out, Alaina Byars came to the plate and powered a shot over the right field wall to even the score on her sixth homerun of the season.
The Bearkats responded quickly, hitting a two-run homer of their own in the bottom of the sixth inning to take back the lead at 4-2. The Islanders were unable to add any runs in the top of the seventh and fell by the final score of 4-2.
"In game one, Sam Houston got hits in key situations," said head coach Jake Schumann. "We had opportunities but we didn't get the ball in play during key situations with runners in scoring position."
Estrada and Byars led TAMUCC in hitting for game one, with each collecting two hits. Larissa Martin and Sandy Schumann each had one hit apiece while Byars collected the only two Islander RBIs. Tallman pitched a complete game, giving up four runs on nine hits and one walk while striking out none in six innings of work.
In game two, the Islanders fell into an early hole, giving up two runs in the first, two in the second and one in the third to quickly fall behind 5-0.
"We had a couple of situations early in the game where we dropped a popup and gave Sam Houston second chances," said Schumann. "Those missed outs turned into a two-run homerun and a two-run double to put us behind from the start."
In the sixth inning, the Islanders broke through with a pair of runs to close the gap to 5-2. Sandy Schumann reached on an error by the pitcher, followed by a Kim Connelly double to put runners at second and third with one out. Lauren Sanders brought home the first run when she grounded out to the pitcher to allow Schumann to score from third and Connelly to advance to third. Estrada followed with a single to score Connelly to put TAMUCC within three runs at 5-2.
In the top of the seventh inning, the Islanders were only able to get one run as Hurdt hit a homerun to right field to lead off the inning for TAMUCC. That would be all the Bearkats would allow as the game ended at a final of 5-3.
Martin, Estrada, Hurdt, Alejia Cain and Connelly had one hit each for the Islanders. Sanders, Martin and Hurdt had one RBI apiece to account for the three TAMUCC runs. Hurdt pitched one and two-third innings, giving up four runs, three of them earned, on three hits and three walks while striking out two batters to take the loss. Tallman came on to pitch in relief, going four and one-third innings, giving up just two hits and one run while walking one and striking out two.
The Islanders are next in action on Thursday, April 2 in Austin to face off against the Texas Longhorns in a doubleheader. The Islanders split a pair of games with the Longhorns earlier in the season at Cabaniss Field in Corpus Christi, winning 5-0 in game one and falling 9-8 in the second game. After the non-conference matchup, the Islanders return home to host SLC opponent McNeese State in a conference series on April 4th and 5th.
"Our backs are against the wall now," said Schumann. "Every game will be a playoff game from now to the end of the season."