AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team rallied back in the third and fourth frames to take a 5-4 lead but a three-run fifth inning by Memphis lifted the Tigers to a 7-5 victory over the Islanders in the Texas Classic Friday afternoon at Red & Charline McCombs field.
The Islanders (0-2) outhit the Tigers (1-1) 9-7 behind senior Meagan McKinney's three hits and five RBIs. Sophomore Hayley Galloway added two hits and freshman Dani Tefft chipped in two to power the Islanders' bats.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the opening frame after leadoff batter Mickayla Cochran started things off with a single to right field. The sophomore advanced to second on an illegial pitch and moved to third on a Tefft groundout. McKinney followed with a double to right center to plate Cochran and give the Islanders' their first run of the game.
Memphis answered with four runs in the bottom of the first on three hits. The Tigers' leadoff hitter Lelani Bernardino tripled to left center and scored on a Morgan Mosby single to right field. Laura Curtis followed with the Tigers' second run after an Islanders throwing error. Wheeler Hill and Kelly Braman scored on a fielder's choice by Cierra Mangum to give Memphis a 4-1 lead.
In the second frame the Islanders tallied one hit and left two stranded. J.J. Jackson started things off with a walk before she was caught stealing. Lindsey Lyles followed with a walk before she advanced to second on a Galloway single to left field. However, the Tigers escaped the jam on a strikeout. The Islanders' defense held Memphis scoreless in the bottom of the second with three quick outs.
The Islanders gained momentum in the top of the third to rally back and knot the score at 4-4. Cochran opened the inning with a walk before advancing to second on a Tefft single to left field. With runners on first and second McKinney blasted her seventh career home run and first one of the season to left field to plate Cochran and Tefft.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi garnered the lead in the top of the fourth to go up 5-4. Lyles walked to begin the frame and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Galloway. Katelyn Potts followed with a walk before Tefft reached first on an error by the Tigers' Cierra Mangum to load the bases. McKinney followed with an RBI single to right field to drive in Lyles and push the Islanders ahead.
However, Memphis came clawing back in the bottom of the fifth to take a 7-5 lead and cap the scoring. The Tigers capitalized on three hits to plate three runs, two unearned to pick up their first victory of the season.
The Islanders loaded the bases in the sixth after Cochran reached on a throwing error to start the inning. Tefft followed with a single and Jackson walked with two outs. Natalie Zarzabal followed with a fielder's choice but Tefft was called for interference to end the frame and leave three stranded.
Ashley Elicerio (0-1) dropped her first game of the season in 4.2 innings of work. The freshman made her first start in the circle and allowed seven hits, seven runs, two walks, while striking out three batters. Constance Brandenburg relieved Elicerio in the middle of the fifth inning and struck out two batters in 1.1 innings.
Sara Pearson sealed the victory for the Tigers with one strikeout in two innings. Ellen Roberts picked up the save with one strikeout in two innings.
The Islanders will continue play in the Texas Classic tomorrow against North Texas at 10 a.m. Live stats can be found here. The Islanders will either have the 4 p.m. or the 6:30 p.m. game following their contest with the Mean Green.
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