Islanders rally caps twin bill sweep of Houston

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team fell behind early in both games, but overcame deficits on three occasions to take a pair of wins against Houston on Tuesday. The home team took game one by a 3-2 final before winning 8-6 in the second game over a team that was recently ranked and is receiving votes in the national polls.

The Islanders improve to 22-6 overall on the year after the pair of non-conference wins. Houston falls to 16-11 after dropping the doubleheader.

Jordan Trujillo improved her record to 10-3 on the season after throwing seven innings and giving up two runs on four hits while walking four and striking out six. Vianca Pesina started game two but gave way to Constance Brandenburg who picked up the win. She moved to 2-0 on the year after tossing three innings and giving up no runs and just one hit while striking out two in relief.

In game one of the day, the Islanders and Cougars were in a stalemate early with neither team scoring in the first three innings of the game.

The visitors got on the board first in the top of the fourth on a two-run home run to right field that gave them a 2-0 lead.

Texas A&M - Corpus Christi answered in the bottom of the sixth with three runs to gain their first lead of the day. Hannah Schwarz struck out swinging but reached on a wild pitch to begin the rally. Stephanie Vead followed with a single to left to put runners on first and second. Caley Jeter came up next and also reached on a fielder's choice sacrifice bunt as Schwarz beat the throw to third to load the bases. Kacie Smith drove in the first run of the frame with a sacrifice fly to deep right field that scored Schwarz and advanced Vead to third.

Lauren Dodson tied the game up with a bunt single just past the pitcher that scored Vead and allowed Jeter to move from first to third. Brittany Tucker followed with an RBI groundout that scored Jeter and gave the Islanders a 3-2 advantage.

"With a veteran crew, you don't have to push any panic buttons," said head coach Jake Schumann. "We were getting no-hit for four innings in the first game but they just have a way about them."

"Eventually they get their pitch and break out of whatever we have been doing."

Trujillo shut down the Cougars batters in the top of the seventh for her tenth victory of the season.

Vead, Jeter, Dodson and Cassie Redman had one hit each to comprise the four for Texas A&M - Corpus Christi while Smith, Dodson and Tucker had one RBI each.

In game two, Houston jumped out to a 2-0 lead once again with a pair of runs in the top of the second inning.

Just as before, the home team rallied, scoring four runs in the bottom of the third to take the lead. Lauren Sanders started the inning with an infield single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Sandy Schumann followed with an RBI single to score Sanders and get her team on the board. Schwarz advanced the runner by laying down a sacrifice bunt to the catcher that moved Schumann to second.

Vead then struck out swinging but advanced to first on a wild pitch while Schumann moved to third base. Another wild pitched scored the runner from third while Vead moved to second to even the score at 2-2. Jeter hit an RBI single that brought Vead home to score and gave them a 3-2 lead. The final run of the inning came when Smith doubled down the right field line to score Jeter and make it a 4-2 game.

The Islanders tacked on a run in the bottom of the fourth when Sanders again started it off with a single up the middle. Jamise Jackson followed with a sacrifice hit to advance Sanders to second. Schwarz brought the runner home on a single through the right side that made it 5-2 in favor of the home team.

Houston this time responded with a rally of their own, scoring four runs on four hits and no errors in the top of the fourth that chased Pesina from the game and gave them a 6-5 lead. Brandenburg came on in relief and shut down the Cougars.

"Our pitchers are keeping us in ball games," said Schumann. "Jordan did a great job today, Vianca did a great job with the exception of one inning and then Constance came in and did a great, great job on closing the door over the last nine outs."

Texas A&M - Corpus Christi responded with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning. Jeter led it off with a double down the left field line but was thrown out at second when the next batter, Smith, hit into a fielder's choice. The Islanders did not let it kill the momentum however, as Dodson reached on a throwing error to move Smith to second.

Tucker followed with a single to bring home Smith and tie the game once again. After Redman came on to pinch run for Tucker, both her and Dodson advanced on a wild pitch to put runners on second and third. Still another wild pitch from the Cougars starters brought Dodson home and made it a 7-6 game.

The Islanders added a run in the bottom of the sixth when Jeter singled and came all the way around to score on a Smith double to left center field for an 8-6 advantage.

Jeter and Sanders had three hits each in game two while Smith had two in the contest. Smith led the team with two RBI while Schwarz, Jeter, Tucker and Schumann had one apiece.

Next up for Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is a Wednesday doubleheader against Houston - Victoria. The games are scheduled to start at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. out at Chapman Field.