CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Baseball team picked up its fifth straight win on Wednesday night, earning a 7-2 final over Incarnate Word in the final game of the season-opening home stand. The Islanders played their first 13 games in Corpus Christi, but will now travel to Houston for the first road games of the year.
The Islanders (8-5) fell behind early, but came from behind to take home the win. The Cardinals (13-4) lost their second straight game after suffering a 2-1 loss the night before. Tim Keller (2-1) picked up the win, pitching 5.0 innings while giving up two runs on six hits and five walks while striking out two. Keller got into trouble several times throughout the first five innings, but he worked his way out of it to keep his team in front.
Jordan Lee had the big night at the plate for Texas A&M – Corpus Christi, going 2-for-3 with three RBI and a run scored. Kyle Danford continued his hot streak, going 2-for-4 to raise his season batting average to .423 after the game. Cody Stephens, Brad Porras, Eric Weiss, Jonathan Gonzales, Brad Lamberti, Zach Taylor and Stafford Brantley each had a hit, as every Islanders starter got at least one on the night. Porras and Gonzales added an RBI each for the offense.
UIW got on the board first, scoring a run on three hits in the top of the first to take the early lead.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the third inning, with the Islanders plating two runs on three hits to take the lead. Stephens led things off with a single through the left side and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Lee. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Stephens came home to score on an RBI groundout by Porras to tie the game. After a Weiss single and stolen base started a two-out rally, Gonzales delivered a huge double to bring the runner around for the 2-1 lead.
The home team tacked on four more in the bottom of the next inning, getting the four runs on just two hits and two crucial Cardinals errors. Danford singled with one out and moved to second when the first baseman committed and error that allowed Brantley to reach. Stephens reached on a hit-by-pitch to load the bases, and Lee followed with a two-RBI single to left that made it a 4-1 game. A Porras fly out to left center moved both runners up a base, and they came home when an error by the shortstop allowed the inning to continue, making it a 6-1 score.
UIW added a run in the top of the fifth to cut the lead to 6-2, but the Islanders added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth to extend the advantage back to five. Brantley started it off with a double to right field, and advanced to third when Stephens hit a fly out to right. Lee came through with his third RBI of the game next, taking the first pitch he saw to straight away center for a run-scoring single that made it 7-2.
In addition to Keller's five innings of work, three other Islanders pitchers came on for a scoreless outing. Thomas Casey threw 1.0 inning, giving up no runs on two hits while striking out a pair of hitters. He was followed by two innings of shutout baseball from Seth Horton. Horton allowed just one hit while walking one and striking out two. Kaleb Keith closed it out for the team in the ninth, striking out all three batters he faced to clinch the win for Texas A&M – Corpus Christi.
The team now turns its attention to the Houston Cougars and a three-game series in the heart of the Bayou City. The teams are schedule for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch on Friday, 6:30 p.m. on Saturday and a 2 p.m. finale on Sunday. Trevor Foss, Trevor Belicek and Adam Hoelscher are schedule to start for the Islanders during the series.
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