Late-game heroics propel Islanders to another walk-off victory
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Lauren Dodson started out the day 0-2 at the plate and had an error that allowed an unearned run to score. None of that mattered in the end, as the senior shortstop stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the seventh. She drilled a 3-1 pitch all the way to the right center field wall for a bases-clearing walk-off double to give her team a 5-4 victory against the Texas State Bobcats.
"It's a funny game, it happens that way a lot of times," said head coach Jake Schumann. "If you're the goat suddenly you are going to be the hero.
"Today went her way, she was the hero and everything turned out good."
The Islanders improved to 29-9 overall and 13-2 in the Southland Conference with the three-game sweep of the Bobcats at Chapman Field. The win improved their home record to 24-1 on the year. Texas State falls to 15-17 overall and 8-7 in league play.
The walk-off win was the second in as many days in a very tightly contested series.
"Guts, the girls showed a lot of guts this weekend," said Schumann. "Obviously we didn't light up the scoreboard and Texas State has great pitching.
"Our pitching was outstanding, they had us in the ballgame and our offense came through when we needed them to. I think we make adjustments as well as anyone."
Greta Cecchetti came on in relief and picked up the win, pitching three and one-third inning of shutout softball, giving up just two hits and no runs as she walked none and struck out four batters. Jordan Trujillo started the game but struggled with her control, giving up just four hits but walking five while striking out two as she gave up four runs, three of them earned.
Things started out rough for Texas A&M - Corpus Christi in the first inning, as Trujillo walked two and gave up two hits along with an error as Texas State jumped out to an early 3-0 advantage.
The Bobcats added a single run in the top of the fourth to stretch the lead to 4-0 midway through the game.
The Islanders finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth as Laura Phillips singled and was pinch-run for by Stephanie Vead. Jamise Jackson followed with a single down the right field line to move Vead to second. After a strikeout, Lauren Sanders hit into a fielder's choice as Vead moved to third and Jackson was thrown out at second base. That put runners on the corners for Caley Jeter, who took a 1-0 pitch to the right center field fence for a two-run double that cut the deficit in half at 4-2.
With Texas A&M - Corpus Christi down to their final at-bat, Jackson started things off with her third single of the day. Hannah Schwarz put down a sacrifice bunt to move Jackson to second and setup a weird sequence in the next at-bat.
Sander hit a 1-0 pitch right back to the pitcher and the ball glanced off the tip of her glove for a single. As Jackson was trying to advance to third base the shortstop for the Bobcats collided with her. While the two coaches were pleading their case for it to be either obstruction that would favor the Islanders or interference that would help out the Bobcats, the umpires got a rule book and looked up the proper ruling. They decided that it was obstruction so Jackson was not out, but they did not feel that she would have advanced to third so they did not award her the extra base that is normally given on an obstruction call. The result of the play put runners on first and second with Jeter coming to bat.
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi second baseman drew a walk to load the bases and set the stage for Dodson's redemption in the bottom of the seventh. After a strikeout swinging put the team down to their final out, Dodson stepped into the batter's box. After drawing three-straight balls, Dodson looked at strike one to make it a 3-1 count. The next pitch she saw was powered over the heads of the outfielders, rolling all the way to the wall as Jackson, Sanders and Jeter came all the way around to score the three runs needed for another walk-off win. Dodson's double made it a 5-4 final as the Islanders picked up another series sweep in Southland Conference play.
"That shows maturity," said Schumann. "Not getting beat down by what's been going on the rest of the game and just being focused on the present."
In the game, Jackson was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate while Sanders had two hits. Jeter and Dodson had the only other hits in the game for Texas A&M - Corpus Christi while both also had the only RBI. Dodson finished with three while Jeter had two on the day. Sanders and Jackson each scored two runs for their team while Jeter scored the final one of the contest.
Next up for the Islanders will be a weekend series against Northwestern State on the road in Natchitoches, La. on April 2nd and 3rd.