CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Baseball team fell behind early, and a three-error inning would be their undoing as they fell 8-7 against Central Arkansas in the Southland Conference series finale.
The Islanders (22-17, 9-6 Southland) fell behind early, but they nearly pulled off the comeback against Central Arkansas (28-10, 8-7 Southland) in the final two inning. Matt Danton (4-2) made it through 5.0 innings, giving up five runs on six hits and two walks while striking out three. O'Shea Dumes kept the Islanders in the game by sitting down the final 11 UCA batters of the game while his team tried to rally.
The Bears started the scoring early, plating three runs on three hits and a walk with just one out in the first inning.
The Islanders got on the board in the bottom of the second inning, getting a run after Jordan Lee singled through the right side, advanced to second when Brandon Tierney reached on a hit-by-pitch and came home to score on a Stafford Brantley RBI single to left that made it 3-1.
The Bears pushed momentarily pushed the lead back to three with a run in the top of the fourth, but the Islanders scored two more in the bottom of the inning to cut the lead to just one.
Lee led off the inning with a double to left center and Brandon Tierney reached on another hit-by-pitch and Russell Vaughan reached on a four-pitch walk to load the bases. After a pitching change for the Bears, Zach Taylor hit a sacrifice fly to score Lee for a 4-2 score. Cody Stephens followed and reached on an error that allowed Tierney to come all the way around from second to make it a 4-3 game.
The score stayed the same until the Islanders defense unraveled in the top of the sixth inning. UCA scored four runs on just two hits while three Islanders errors allowed the Bears to stretch the advantage to 8-3.
With just six outs left in the game, the Islanders furiously rallied in the eighth. Lee started it off with a walk and moved to third when Tierney singled through the left side and advanced to second on the throw. Vaughan followed with a hit-by-pitch that loaded the bases, and a two-RBI single by Kyle Danford cut the lead to 8-5 as Vaughan advanced to second. Taylor followed with a single to center that loaded the bases once again, and Stephens and Eric Weiss came up with back-to-back sacrifice flies to cut the lead down to one at 8-7.
A pitch hit Jonathan Gonzales to put runners on first and second, and Brad Porras followed with what nearly turned into the game-winning home run. It was not to be, however, as the UCA left fielder reached over the fence and pulled the fly ball back into play for the final out of the inning.
The Islanders were unable to rally in the ninth as UCA clinched the series with the 8-7 victory.
Next up for the team will be a Tuesday night contest against Houston – Victoria at 6 p.m. in what is scheduled to be the final midweek game of the season.
Live stats and video for the game will be available by visiting www.GoIslanders.com.
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