Hammond, La. - The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi softball team had a flair for the dramatic during the first game of the day against Southeastern Louisiana as they won a 4-3 game in eight innings. In game two they dominated the Lady Lions by a 13-5 score in six innings to put themselves into position to qualify for the Southland Conference Tournament.
The Islanders are now 34-20 on the season and 15-14 in Southland Conference games. The Lady Lions fall to 11-36 overall and 3-24 in league play. Elena Crabtree came on to pitch in relief in both games and picked up both wins to improve to 16-11 on the season.
Caley Jeter had a monster day at the plate, going 4-for-5 at the plate with four walks and an RBI.
The Lady Lions took the lead early in game one as Kelsey Nichols hit a solo home run to left center in the bottom of the first inning for a 1-0 lead. Southeastern added another single run in the bottom of the fourth to extend it to a 2-0 lead.
"I thought Southeastern did a great job defensively," said head coach Jake Schumann. "They did a great job pitching-wise by getting us out of our comfort zone early.
"Our kids got back in zone and started executing the game plan better."
The Islanders got on the board for the first time in the fifth with a pair of runs to make it 2-2. With two outs in the inning, Cassie Redman started the rally with a single to left field and stole second base. Hannah Schwarz followed with a double to right to score Redman and make it 2-1 Southeastern. A single up the middle by Jeter tied the game up at 2-2 as Schwarz came around to score.
The Lady Lions wasted no time regaining the advantage with an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth to take a 3-2 lead.
The score remained the same until the top of the seventh inning as the Islanders were down to their final two outs when Lauren Sanders doubled to left center. A Redman single to center field tied the game up at 3-3 and sent the game to extra innings.
"I thought we pressed in game one but Lauren Sanders got us going in the seventh," said Schumann. "We needed that spark and Lauren got it for us.
"We had a pretty good outing from there offensively to finish that game and take it to game two."
In the top of the eighth, Brittany Tucker led off with a single on the infield to put a runner on. Kyrie Panter came on to pinch run and advanced to second on a Kacie Smith sacrifice bunt and moved to third on a wild pitch. With Panter standing on third base, freshman Meagan McKinney drilled a double down the right field line to put the Islanders ahead for the first time all game at 4-3.
Crabtree shut down the Lady Lions in the bottom half of the eighth to secure the win for A&M-Corpus Christi.
Schwarz led the team with three hits while Redman, Jeter and Tucker each had two apiece. Redman, Schwarz, Jeter and McKinney had one RBI each for the Islanders.
In game two, the Islander offense nearly matched a school record by recording 18 hits, one short of the current record set against Prairie View A&M on April 8, 2008.
The Islanders scored single runs in the first and second innings and three runs in the top of the third, including Tucker's ninth home run of the season.
The Lady Lions got on the board with three runs in the bottom half of the third to make it 5-3 Islanders. A&M-Corpus Christi responded with six in the top of the fourth to put the game out of reach. Redman led the inning off with a single and then Jeter walked to put runners on first and second. Margo Hurdt singled in Redman to start the scoring. A Smith walk loaded the bases ahead of a two-RBI single by Lauren Dodson to score Jeter and Hurdt before a hit-by-pitch put McKinney on to load the bases once again. Sanders doubled to right center field to make it 10-3 Islanders. A Redman single scored McKinney for the final run of the inning as A&M-Corpus Christi took an 11-3 lead after four innings.
After the Lady Lions scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth to extend the game, the Islanders responded with two of their own to once again put the mercy rule into play. Sandy Schumann led off with a single and moved up on a McKinney single. Both runners moved up on a passed ball while Sanders walked to load the bases. Landry Moore hit a sacrifice fly to deep right center field to score both Schumann and McKinney, who was running all out once the catch was made for a rare two-RBI sacrifice fly to make it 13-5.
The Lady Lions loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth but Crabtree worked her way out of the jam to record the final out of the game.
Redman and Hurdt each had three hits in game two while Jeter, Smith, Dodson, McKinney and Sanders had two apiece. Tucker and Schumann rounded out the hits with one each.
With the wins today, the Islanders are in position to qualify for the Southland Conference Tournament with a win on Sunday. Due to UTSA losing two games against Northwestern State, the Islanders now control their own fate when it comes to the tournament.
"It's been "win, win, win" for the last three weekends," said Schumann. "It has basically been the playoffs for us during those weekends.
"We just have to come back tomorrow and play loose while executing our game plan, hopefully we have an opportunity to get to the conference tournament for the first time ever."
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