March 19, 2011

Islanders rally late for doubleheader split with Nicholls Colonels

THIBODAUX, La. - The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team earned a doubleheader split with the Nicholls Colonels on Saturday by rallying late to take an 11-8 final in extra innings during the second game of the day. They lost 4-0 to NSU in the opening game of the Southland Conference series.

The Islanders move to 25-7 on the season overall and are 9-2 in league play. The Colonels are now 8-15 this year with a 2-5 record in Southland games.

Jordan Trujillo started and took the loss in game one to fall to 10-4 on the year. Vianca Pesina was the started in game two but was lifted with Greta Cecchetti being the eventual winner in the extra-innings contest to improve to 4-2 this season. Constance Brandenburg made relief appearances in both games for Texas A&M - Corpus Christi.

In game two, the Islanders were able to get on the board first, scoring a run in the top of the first inning. Hannah Schwarz reached on a walk and moved to second on an error by the catcher. She was sacrificed over to third by Sandy Schumann and came home to score on a sacrifice fly by Caley Jeter to make it 1-0 after the first at-bat.

In the second inning, Lauren Dodson led off with a double to right field while Brittany Tucker laid down a sacrifice bunt to move her to third base. She came home to score on a Laura Phillips single to shallow center field to make it a 2-0 lead after two.

Nicholls gained the lead in the bottom of the second with four singles and two doubles to score four runs and take a 4-2 advantage.

Texas A&M - Corpus Christi knotted the score in the top of the third with two runs on three hits to make it a 4-4 ballgame. Schwarz led the inning off with another bunt single and moved to second on a groundout by Schumann. Jeter followed with a single and advanced to second on the throw home as Schwarz came around to score. Jeter was then driven in by a Dodson single down the right field line to even the game at 4-4.

The Colonels quickly broke the stalemate with another run in the bottom of the inning with a sacrifice fly for a 5-4 lead.

Texas A&M - Corpus Christi started the rally in the top of the fourth with a Stephanie Vead single while she advanced to second on a throwing error by the second baseman. Lauren Sanders followed with a single to advance Vead to third and put runners on the corners. Schwarz then put down a sacrifice bunt to score Vead and even the score at 5-5. The team threatened but was unable to add any more runs in the inning to keep the score tied.

NSU once again grabbed the lead in the bottom half of the inning, scoring two runs on three hits to put the lead at 7-5 in favor of the Colonels.

After a scoreless fifth for both teams, the Islanders rallied for three runs in the top of the sixth to take an 8-7 lead. With one out, Phillips singled and was pinch-run for by McKinney. A Vead groundout moved McKinney to second ahead of Sanders, who singled to put runners on the corners.

Schwarz came through with a two-out, RBI single to score McKinney and pull her team to within one at 7-6. Schumann then followed with a clutch hit right down the left field line for a two-RBI double to put Texas A&M - Corpus Christi on top by an 8-7 score.

Down to their final at-bat, the Colonels picked up a run in the bottom of the seventh on a sacrifice fly to send the game into extra innings.

Neither team scored in the eighth as Nicholls threatened, loading the bases with just one out, but Cecchetti struck out two consecutive batters to get out of the inning.

In the top of the ninth, the Islanders scored three runs on three hits, including back-to-back doubles as they took control of the game. Schumann started the inning off by reaching on an error and moved to second on a Jeter single. Both runners moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt by Kacie Smith before a Dodson double scored both runners and made it a 10-8 game. Tucker then followed with another double off the top of the wall to score Dodson and extend the lead to 11-8 heading to the bottom of the ninth.

Cecchetti was able to close the door on the Colonels to secure the win and a doubleheader split for Texas A&M - Corpus Christi.

Dodson led the team with three hits while Schwarz, Jeter, Phillips and Sanders had two hits apiece. Dodson also led the team with three RBI while Schwarz, Schumann and Jeter added two each. Tucker and Phillips rounded out the group with one RBI apiece.

In game one, the Colonels opened the scoring in the second inning by starting things off with a leadoff triple by Tori Lay followed by an RBI single from Katie Holmes to make it a 1-0 score.

NSU added to the lead in the fourth with another run as they got a leadoff double from their starting pitcher Ashton Bennett. She then came around to score on another RBI single by Holmes.

They added two more runs in the fifth on four hits to extend their lead to a 4-0 mark.

The Islanders threatened in the top of the sixth, getting runners on through a Schumann walk followed by Jeter reaching on an error by the shortstop. The runners moved up a base on a Smith groundout, but were unable to score to keep the score at 4-0 after six innings.

Neither team scored in the final at-bats to finish the game with a 4-0 score in favor of Nicholls. It was just the second shutout of the season for the Islanders.

Schwarz had two bunt singles in the game while Smith and Dodson had one each.

The final game of the series will be played on Sunday with a 12 p.m. start at the Colonels Softball Complex. Live stats will be available by visiting www.GoIslanders.com.