CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team capped off an undefeated day at the Holiday Inn Emerald Beach Islanders Classic in dramatic fashion, rallying for three runs in their last at-bat to take a thrilling 5-4 victory over Arkansas. It was the team's first win over an SEC opponent since the 2006 season.
"I thought we were scrapping all game and it came down to the last at-bat," said head coach Jake Schumann. "We put pressure on them and Hannah used her speed to force the pitcher to throw ball away and allow us to score some runs."
The Islanders are now 8-5 on the year and sit at 3-0 in the tournament heading into the final day of competition at the Islanders Classic. They will play Texas Southern at 11 a.m. on Saturday in a rematch of an 8-0 six-inning victory on Thursday afternoon for the team. Arkansas falls to 6-7 on the season and will face Rutgers at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Jordan Trujillo picked up the win to move to 4-2 on the year, going all seven innings and recovering from an early mistake to give up four runs on four hits with four walks and six strikeouts. Hannah Schwarz provided the late-inning heroics, scoring the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to give her team the victory.
"The players always feel like they are in the ball game and have a chance to win," said Schumann. "They showed mental toughness out there today.
"Especially Jordan, who after making a mistake on a 0-2 pitch in the first inning, did well the rest of the game while not allowing any real threats from Arkansas."
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi fell behind early but was able to answer quickly in the opening inning. After a three-run homer put the Razorbacks up 3-0 in the top of the inning, Schwarz opened the inning with a single. After moving to second on a groundout, Caley Jeter moved Schwarz to third while the Islanders centerfielder scored on an error by the catcher that also allowed Jeter to move up second. A Kacie Smith double to left scored Jeter from second and cut the Arkansas lead to 3-2 after one full inning.
The Razorbacks added a single run in the top of the third inning to make it 4-2. The score would remain the same until the bottom of the seventh inning.
"Today we had some really good at-bats and then we had some really bad at-bats," said Schumann. "We put together some innings that we had threats, and others where we didn't do anything.
"Arkansas' pitcher mixed speeds well to keep us off balance."
In the final at-bat for her team, Brittany Tucker opened the inning with a single and was pinch run for by Sandy Schumann. Laura Phillips then followed with a double to put the tying runs on second and third. Stephanie Vead came on to pinch run for Phillips with no outs in the innings. Lauren Sanders and Jamise Jackson then followed with a pair of outs to put the Islanders down to their final out.
Schwarz stepped to the plate, singled on a bunt and forced the pitcher to make a quick decision trying to get the out. Fortunately for Texas A&M - Corpus Christi, no one was covering first base as the speedy Schwarz came all the way around to score the winning run as the ball rolled down the right field line. When she crossed the plate, Schwarz gave her team a 5-4 victory and its first win over an SEC team since a 3-1 game against Ole Miss during the 2006 season.
Schwarz and Smith each had two hits in the game while Cassie Redman, Tucker and Phillips had one apiece. Schwarz and Smith also had the only RBI of the game for the home team as each contributed one to the winning effort.
The action picks back up tomorrow with Rutgers and Arkansas going at 9 a.m. and the Islanders taking on Texas Southern, scheduled for an 11 a.m. first pitch. The two losers will meet at 1 p.m. while the championship game at 3 p.m. will pit the winner of each of the first two games of the day.
Live stats and video for the entire day can be found by visiting www.GoIslanders.com.