HAMMOND, La. – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team earned a doubleheader split with Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday, winning game one 8-5 before losing a tough ballgame 5-4 in the nightcap. The Islanders are now 24-19 and 10-8 in the Southland.
In game one, the Islanders jumped out to a 5-1 lead and held off a late Lions charge for the win. Eric Weiss had three extra-base hits, going 3-for-4 with three runs and two RBI to lead the Islanders to an 8-5 victory. In the second game, the Islanders scored four in the first, but Southeastern countered with five in the second, and that was all the scoring in the contest, as the home squad emerged with a 5-4 victory.
GAME 1 – ISLANDERS 8, SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA 5
In addition to Weiss' three hits, Cody Stephens and Brad Porras each added two hits for A&M – Corpus Christi. Trevor Belicek scattered nine hits over 8 1/3 innings to improve to 7-1 on the year, while Jacob Dorris picked up his ninth save by snuffing out a late Lions rally.
The Islanders struck immediately, plating a pair of runs in the first. Cody Stephens started it with a single to left, and Weiss followed by crushing a triple the other way, off the wall in right center to score Stephens and make it 1-0. He came home one batter later, when Johnathan Gonzales grounded to short for an RBI to push the lead to 2-0.
In the third, the visitors boosted their lead with three more scores. Stephens started it with his second single of the day, and Weiss followed by drawing a four-pitch walk. Gonzales then lifted a ball to right field on a hit-and-run, but it was mishandled by Harry Slade to leave the bases loaded with one out. After Brad Porras flew out to shallow right, Jordan Lee came up with a line-drive double to left center, clearing the bases to make it a 5-0 lead for A&M – Corpus Christi.
Southeastern got on the board with a two-out rally in the bottom of the third. Alex Marse and Kyle Cedotal delivered back-to-back choppers over the mound with two away. Ben Hernandez then made the Islanders pay when he ripped a single to left, scoring Marse and making it 5-1. The run snapped a string of 19 2/3 scoreless innings for Belicek.
The Islanders added another run in the top of the fifth. Weiss started the rally with a one-out double to left, and two batters later Porras came up with a big hit. The senior ripped a single up the middle, plating his classmate to push the lead to 6-1.
The Lions got a run back in the bottom of the sixth after a leadoff walk by Cedotal. He stole second and advanced to third when the throw got into center field. That was followed by a single from Hernandez, making it a 6-2 Islanders lead. The Islanders got one right back in the top of the seventh, though. Zach Taylor led off with a double to left center, moved to third, and came home when Gonzales' grounder to short was mishandled, pushing the advantage to 7-2.
After the Islanders added an insurance run on a Weiss RBI double in the top of the ninth, the Lions made it interesting in the bottom of the inning. After a leadoff bunt single by Hernandez, Jameson Fisher hit a tailor-made double play ball, but it glanced off the umpire's foot for an infield single. Belicek retired the next batter, but back-to-back singles scored a run and the sophomore was replaced by Seth Horton.
Horton got his first batter on an infield fly, but then surrendered a two-run single that trimmed the deficit to 8-5. After a hit batsman loaded the bags once again, Dorris came in to finish it off with a groundout for his ninth save of the year.
Stephens reached base five times in a losing effort for the Islanders, who delivered five hits in the first inning, but could muster just four the rest of the way. Kaleb Manuel pitched six stellar innings out of the pen, scattering three hits to put out the first-inning fire, while Mason Klotz came on for his second save in as many days for the Lions. O'Shea Dumes was carded with a hard-luck loss in throwing 5 2/3 solid innings, surrendering just five hits and one walk.
The Islanders pounced on starter Jordan Hymel right away, scoring four runs on five hits to take an early 4-0 lead. All the damage started with a two-out walk by Weiss, and Gonzales followed with a single. Zach Taylor added a single to left of his own, loading the bases for Lee. The sophomore dribbled a grounder to short, but beat it out for an infield single, making it 1-0 Islanders and leaving the bases loaded. Tierney followed, and the third baseman cleared the bags with a double to deep left center to push the lead to 4-0.
But Southeastern was undaunted, and came back with five runs in the bottom of the second to regain the lead. A hit batsman was followed by back-to-back singles to chase Matt Danton from the game, and Dumes came on in relief. Dumes surrendered an RBI single to Alex Marse to make it 4-2 in favor of the visitors, and on the play Marse advanced to second as the Islanders threw to third. A Cedotal squeeze brought home the inning's third run and Hernandez followed with a single to tie the score.
The fateful play came as Dumes tried to pick off Hernandez, but his throw sailed wide, and the shortstop scurried around to third. He came home on a groundout by Fisher that put the Lions ahead, in what seemed like it would be an offensive game throughout.
But that was all the scoring that either team would muster, as Dumes and Manuel each settled in. Dorris added 1 1/3 perfect innings at the tail end, while Klotz allowed one hit and one walk in 2 1/3 frames.
The Islanders next play a doubleheader at Texas-Pan American on Tuesday, April 30. They will return to Chapman Field next weekend, as they play host to McNeese State for a three-game series. The opener will be Friday at 6 p.m., with Saturday's game at 5 and Sunday's finale at 1. Live stats and video will be available on GoIslanders.com, and updates will be provided on Twitter @CorpusBaseball.