CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team grabbed an early lead and never looked back on Sunday afternoon, taking a 7-5 final over the Utah Utes to close out the Kleberg Bank College Classic. The Islanders picked two wins in the tournament for the first time since it began in 2006 and placed starting pitcher Adam Hoelscher and outfielder Kyle Danford on the all-tournament team.
The Islanders improved to 6-2 on the season with the win, while Utah fell to 1-7 on the year. Daniel Minor picked up his second win of the week to improve to 2-0. He pitched 7.0 inning, giving up three runs, only one earned, on five hits while walking one and striking out a career-high eight Utah batters. Phillip Garcia earned his third save of the year, coming on with the bases loaded and giving up just one hit to put the Utes away.
Eric Weiss had the big day at the plate for Texas A&M – Corpus Christi, going 3-for-5 with three RBI to lead the team. Dan Sciantarelli also picked up three hits for the Islanders, while Jeramie Marek, Bobby Buckner and Jonathan Gonzales had a pair each. Weston Montgomery and Danford picked up one apiece to put the Islanders at a season-high 14 hits against the Utes.
The Islanders started the scoring early on, plating a run in the bottom of the first for the initial lead. Jeramie Marek led off the inning with a single up the middle and moved to second on a stolen base. Weiss followed with an RBI single to center that scored Marek for the 1-0 lead.
Texas A&M – Corpus Christi added four more runs in the bottom half of the second by playing station-to-station baseball. Kyle Danford started it off with a single, and then moved to second on a groundout. Jonathan Gonzales moved Danford over to third on a single to center.
Santiago Ruiz then reached on a sacrifice bunt that brought home Danford to extend the lead to 2-0. Dan Sciantarelli followed with another single to load the bases, and Jeramie Marek then brought home Gonzales on a sacrifice fly for a 3-0 score. Weston Montgomery then singled to reload the bases, and Eric Weiss came through with a big two-RBI single to plate Ruiz and Sciantarelli for the 5-0 advantage.
Utah responded in the fifth inning with three runs in the top of the frame to cut the lead to 5-3.
Bobby Buckner led off the bottom of the fifth with a double to left center to chase the starting pitcher. After the first out of the inning, Marc Damon drew a walk to put a pair of runners on. Ruiz then reached on an error that allowed Buckner to score from second for a 6-3 advantage.
The Islanders added yet another run in the bottom of the sixth, with Marek walking to lead off the inning, stealing second base and then advancing to third on a balk. Weston Montgomery brought Marek home on a sacrifice fly to left field to make it a 7-3 score.
Utah threatened in the top of the ninth, scoring two runs on three hits before Philly Garcia came on to slam the door, picking up his third save of the season for the Islanders.
Next up for Texas A&M – corpus Christi will be a Thursday to Saturday series on the road against Dallas Baptist and a single game on Saturday night in a non-conference tilt against Southland foe UT Arlington.
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