CONWAY, Ark. – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team had an offensive explosion Friday night, pounding out 14 hits on the way to a 13-2 win in seven innings over Central Arkansas to open the Southland Conference series. Marc Damon and Stafford Brantley each picked up their first home runs of the year to lead the team to victory.
The Islanders improved to 11-12 overall and 4-3 in Southland Conference games. The Bears fall to 8-10 on the year, 3-4 in league contests. Adam Hoelscher picked up the win, throwing six innings while giving up just one run on three hits, with six walks and three strikeouts to improve to 5-1 on the year.
Offensively, six different players had two hits on the way to tying a season high of 14 hits. The 13 runs were the most scored by the Islanders this year. Jeramie Marek, Drew Vest, Jonathan Gonzales, Dan Sciantarelli, Santiago Ruiz and Damon each had two hits apiece. Eric Weiss led the team with three RBI, while Brantley, Gonzales and Damon had the RBI each. Ruiz and Marek rounded out the scoring with one RBI each on the night.
After a scoreless first inning by both teams, the Islanders wasted little time getting things going in the second. After a leadoff fly out, Omar Garcia reached on a fielding error and came home to score on a Gonzales double to get his team on the board.
The very next pitch saw Damon slam a two-run home run over the left centerfield wall to make it a 3-0 score. After a Sciantarelli single through the infield, Ruiz followed with a double down the left field line that plated Sciantarelli to extend the lead.
Marek then reached on another error that scored Ruiz, and moved up to second on a Vest bunt single. With runners on first and second, Vest was picked off in order to allow Marek to score all the way from second for a 6-0 lead.
The score remained the same in the third when Kyle Danford drew a leadoff walk, and was sacrificed over to second base on a bunt by Garcia. That brought Gonzales to the plate, and he delivered his second RBI double of the game to make it a 7-0 score and force the Bears starter from the game.
UCA responded with a run in the bottom of the third as Hoelscher struggled with his control, walking three batters while giving up just one hit. He persevered through it and got out of the inning with the score at 7-1 in favor of the Islanders.
The Islanders added to the lead in the sixth inning with three straight singles to plate another run. Sciantarelli led of with a single to right center, and Ruiz followed with a single to the same spot to put runners on the corners. Marek drove Sciantarelli in with an infield single to the shortstop to make it 8-1.
After a bunt single to the pitcher by Vest loaded the bases, Weiss had a bases-clearing double to extend the advantage to 11-1 for the Islanders. After a fly out made it one away in the inning, Brantley smashed a 1-1 pitch over the right field wall to make it 13-1 on his first home run as an Islander.
UCA added a single run on three walks in the seventh, but it was not enough as the Islanders picked up the 13-2 victory in seven innings.
Tanner Green came on to get the final out of the game to clinch the opening win of the series.
The two teams are scheduled for a 4 p.m. game tomorrow afternoon, with Tim Keller facing Caleb McClanahan of UCA on the mound. The two teams will play a final game at 12 p.m. on Sunday as Daniel Minor and Ryan Angus get the start against each other.
Live stats and video will be available for each game by visiting www.UCAGameday.com.
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