NATCHITOCHES, La. – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team took a 5-1 final over second-place Northwestern State on Sunday to win the Southland Conference series. The Islanders won the final two games after taking a loss on Friday to win their first Southland series since the conference opener against UTSA.
Texas A&M – Corpus Christi is now 15-20 overall, and 8-10 in Southland Conference play. The Demons fall to 14-19 this year, 10-8 in league games. Daniel Minor had another strong performance, pitching 8.0 innings and giving up just one unearned run on seven hits while striking out eight batters and walking none to improve to 6-1 on the year. It was his sixth game this season with at least eight strikeouts.
Jonathan Gonzales led the team with two hits in the game, while Eric Weiss, Drew Vest, Jordan Lee, Santiago Ruiz and Brad Porras had one hit apiece. Ruiz led the team with two RBI, while Gonzales and Jeramie Marek each plated one.
In the opening inning, the Islanders picked up a pair of unearned runs without the benefit of a hit as two walks and two NSU errors staked the visitors to a 2-0 lead.
Weiss and Vest started the inning off by walking on a combined nine pitches, and after a pop out, Weiss scored and Vest advanced to third on an error by the first baseman. On the next play, an error by the pitcher allowed Marek to reach, loading the bases with one out. Ruiz plated the second run on the inning with a sacrifice fly to let that scored Vest to make it 2-0 without a hit.
Texas A&M – Corpus Christi got their first hits of the game in the third inning, with Gonzales singling, and then Lee following with one of his own to put runners on first and third. Marek followed with an RBI bunt single that scored Gonzales from third on a safety squeeze as miscommunication between the pitcher and catcher for the Demons caused neither of them to play the ball as Marek reached with a hit on an attempted sacrifice.
In the fifth, the Islanders had two outs when Marek came to the plate. He grounded to the shortstop, but an error allowed him to reach base. After stealing second, Ruiz singled him home to make it a 4-0 game.
The sixth was more of the same for the Islanders, with another two-out rally producing a run to make it 5-0. With two away, Vest hit a hustle double as he took advantage of the left fielder playing the ball slowly to stretch the hit into a double. Gonzales followed with an RBI single to extend the lead.
The Demons got an unearned run in the eighth inning to end Minor's shutout bid, but the Islanders would finish the game with Franco Pace getting the first out of the ninth, and Phillip Garcia getting the final two for the 5-1 victory.
Next up for the Islanders will be a Tuesday and Wednesday night series against #17 Baylor in Waco. The Bears are currently on an 18-game winning streak before the final game of their series against Kansas State on Sunday afternoon.
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