May 14, 2011

Wild finish helps Islanders advance in Southland Conference Tournament

HUNTSVILLE, Texas - The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team picked up a wild win late Friday night as they scored a run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning to take a 6-5 final over UTSA.

The Islanders improve to 40-18 on the year and advance to play McNeese State at 10:30 a.m. for the right to advance to the championship final. The 40 wins are the second-most wins in school history behind the 42-11 finish by the 2005 team.

The championship game will be broadcast on the Southland Conference Television Network, including My KTOV in Corpus Christi. If a second championship game is necessary, it will be shown to a national audience on Fox College Sports Central. All of Saturday's games will be streamed live on www.Southland.org.

Jordan Trujillo picked up her second win of the day after coming on in relief and tossing two shutout innings and gave up just one hit while striking out four batters and walking none. She improved to 16-7 on the season with the pair of wins.

"This was just two teams that didn't want to end their season right there," said head coach Jake Schumann. "Pitching was good at times and hitters really rose to the occasion on both teams.

"We just happened to be the one to get the last run. A hard-fought game on both ends, I'm proud of our kids for fighting and staying mentally into it. We have to go get some rest and do it again tomorrow."

The Islanders scored first as Hannah Schwarz singled and stole second base before advancing to third on a wild pitch that was also ball four to Brittany Tucker. Lauren Dodson followed with a sacrifice fly to right that scored Schwarz for a 1-0 lead.

UTSA struck back in the fourth inning with a three-run homer off of starter Vianca Pesina to make it a 3-1 advantage for the Roadrunners.

The Islanders came back in the bottom half of the fourth with four runs of their own to gain a 5-3 lead. With one out, Kacie Smith doubled to right center and came around to score on a Jamise Jackson double to the same spot. Meagan McKinney came on to pinch run for Jackson and scored on the very next play when Stephanie Vead double to left center to knot the game at 3-3. Sandy Schumann came on to pinch run for Vead and moved to third when Cassie Redman doubled to left field.

After a Lauren Sanders walk, Caley Jeter singled home Schumann for a 4-3 lead with the bases loaded. Laura Phillips pinch hit and lifted a pitch to center field for a sacrifice fly to make it a 5-3 Islanders advantage.

The Roadrunners came back in the top of the sixth with a pair of runs to even the score at 5-5.

The score remained the same until the bottom of the eighth when Sanders singled to second base and moved to second on a Jeter single. Schwarz then put down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over to second and third with one out. That brought Tucker to the plate, but her bat would not be needed as the UTSA pitcher let a pitch get away as Sanders came home to score on a wild pitch to win the game 6-5 for the Islanders.

"We just kept talking it up in the dugout," said Sanders on her run. "We really kept the team up the whole time.

"They started getting rattled and we got it. They were under pressure and they knew it.

Live stats and audio of the game tomorrow morning against McNeese State will be available by visiting www.GoIslanders.com.