CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team staked themselves to a lead heading into the final inning and withstood a Scarlet Knights rally to take a 4-3 victory over Rutgers in their first game of the Holiday Inn Emerald Beach Islanders Classic. The Islanders play Arkansas to end the second day of play at the tournament.
The win moved the team to 7-5 on the season and 2-0 on the weekend. Rutgers moved to 2-5 on the season after picking up a win against Texas Southern earlier in the morning.
Constance Brandenburg went the distance, giving up three runs on eight hits with three walks and four strikeouts for the first win of her collegiate career.
The Islanders struck first with a single run in the bottom of the first inning. Hannah Schwarz led the inning off with a triple to center field. After a pair of walks loaded the bases, Lauren Dodson reached on a fielder's choice that scored Schwarz to make it 1-0 in favor of the home team.
Rutgers quickly answered back however, as the first batter of the second inning, Mikelyn Messina, hit a 2-2 pitch to center field to knot the game at 1-1.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi was held hitless for nearly four full innings after the first. In the fifth, the team finally got back on the board, both in the hit and the run column, as Caley Jeter walked and Kacie Smith brought her around to score on a double to center field, making it 2-1 for the Islanders.
In the sixth, they struck again, as Brittany Tucker singled and Sandy Schumann walked to put runners on first and second. A Lauren Sanders groundout moved the runners to second and third with Jamise Jackson coming on to pinch hit. Jackson hit a 3-2 pitch to deep center field, scoring Tucker on a sacrifice fly and allowing Schumann to come around to score on the throw to make it 4-1 after six innings.
The final run by Schumann was the deciding run, as Rutgers rallied for a pair of runs in the top of the seventh. The leadoff batter reached on an error and was followed by a single down the line. After the runners advanced, Brittney Lindley singled to score both runs and make it 4-3 with just one out. With the lead in peril, Dodson, the Islanders shortstop, saved the day by turning a 6-3, game-ending double play.
Schwarz finished the game as the only Islanders player with two hits while Laura Phillips, Smith and Tucker had one apiece. Smith and Dodson each had one RBI for the team as did Jackson in her pinch-hit appearance. Jeter had a rare 0-for-0 day as she drew two walks and a hit-by-pitch to reach base three times.
Live stats and video of the game against Arkansas can be found on www.GoIslanders.com.