Arlington The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi softball team showed no signs of rust after a week off, pounding UT Arlington for 14 hits and nine runs to take a 9-3 victory over the Lady Mavs. It was the first of a three-game series between the two teams.
The win moves the Islanders to 17-28 overall on the year and 8-13 in SLC play. The Lady Mavs are now 20-20 this season and 14-11 in SLC action. Addie Tallman started the game for TAMUCC and went the whole way to improve her record to 14-13 this year.
"The offense was able to get 14 hits and Addie pitched well," said head coach Jake Schumann. "We were able to shut them down and play great defense to go along with the offense."
The Islanders wasted no time getting on the board. In the top of the first inning, Lauren Sanders reached base with a leadoff single. After a pair of outs threatened to end the Islander threat before scoring any runs, Alaina Byars stepped to the plate and hit a double to bring Sanders around while Byars advanced to third on the throw. Margo Hurdt did more damage as she powered a pitch from Cara Hulme over the left centerfield wall to give the Islanders a quick 3-0 lead after the first inning.
"Margo hit a three-run bomb in the top half of the first inning," said Schumann. "Addie came right back and struck out the side in the bottom half, we were really able to set the tone for the day early on."
The Islanders added to the lead with a single run in the top of the fourth inning. Kim Connelly opened the inning with a double to left center and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Sandy Schumann. Cassie Redman drove in Connelly by reaching on an error by the second baseman, putting the lead at 4-0 in favor of the Islanders.
UT Arlington was able to get on the board in the bottom half of the fourth inning, pushing across two runs to close the gap to 4-2.
It would not last long however, as the Islanders added three more runs in the top half of the fifth to stretch the lead to 7-2. Stephanie Estrada led off the inning with a single and moved over to second when Byars followed with a single. Hurdt followed with a single down the left field line to score Estrada and move Byars to second. After Melissa Casey came on to pinch-run for Byars, Andrea Simancas laid down a bunt single to load the bases as Hurdt moved to second and Casey went to third. Landry Moore then pinch hit for Schumann, driving in a run on a sacrifice bunt to first base and bringing Casey home to finish the scoring.
The Islanders put the game away in the top of the sixth inning when Estrada drew a two-out walk. Byars followed up with a single to advance Estrada to second. After a Hurdt walk to load the bases, Simancas came through with a clutch two-out double, scoring Estrada and Byars to give the Islanders an insurmountable 9-2 lead. The Lady Mavs were able to add a single run in the bottom of the inning, but it was not enough as the Islanders took the game by a final of 9-3.
Tallman pitched a complete game, going all seven inning while giving up just three runs on eight hits and no walks while striking out five UTA batters.
Offensively, Hurdt led the way with her perfect 3-for-3 performance, driving in three and scoring two runs. Sanders and Byars also added three hits, with Byars going 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored while Sanders added a run scored. Simancas has two hits and two RBI. Connelly, Redman and Estrada each added one hit to round out the offense for TAMUCC.
The Islanders will look to continue their offensive outburst on Sunday, as the two teams will play a doubleheader starting at 11:00 AM. The doubleheader was originally scheduled for Saturday and then a single game on Sunday, the games were moved around due to weather concerns in the area.
"It was a good day for us today," said Schumann. "We were able to stay focused and relaxed, we need to be able to do the same thing tomorrow."