Islanders Hold Off Cardinals for 9-7 Win in Series Opener
CORPUS CHRISTI – Texas A&M – Corpus Christi jumped out to an 8-0 lead and held off a tremendous Lamar comeback for a 9-7 victory in the series opener between the two teams Friday night at Chapman Field. Brandon Tierney went 2-for-4 with his second home run of the year in the victory for the Islanders.
Trevor Foss picked up the win for the Islanders, surrendering five hits and two walks in six innings of work. Jacob Dorris came on in the ninth to collect his 12th save of the season for the Islanders, stranding the tying run on first base for the Cardinals. The Islanders improved to 29-20 overall and 14-8 in league play, moving into sole possession of second place in the league. Lamar is now 33-16 and 12-10 in Southland play.
Brad Porras, Johnathan Gonzales and Jordan Lee each went 2-for-4 in the win for the Islanders, while Tierney and Zach Taylor each drove in a pair of runs. Brad Picha went 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI in the loss for Lamar, while V.J. Bunner went 2-for-4 with a homer and three runs driven in.
The home squad came out blazing, plating four runs in the first inning on five hits. Porras started the rally with a one-out single through the left side, and Gonzales followed with a walk. Weiss came up next, lining a single up the middle to score Porras for a 1-0 lead. After a groundout moved both Eric Weiss and Gonzales into scoring position, Taylor came up big, lining a ball just inside the right-field line for a two-run triple for a 3-0 lead. Tierney followed by ripping a single to left, scoring Taylor for a 4-0 Islanders edge.
In the fourth, the Islanders bats struck again. Tierney led off the frame by blasting a ball over the wall in left center for his second home run of the season to make it 5-0. Russell Vaughn later drew a one-out walk, and Cody Stephens followed with a single to put two on and one away. After a Porras strikeout, Gonzales looped a single into shallow right to score Vaughn, and a Jude Vidrine throwing error allowed another run to come home, making it 7-0 in favor of the home squad.
They pushed the lead to 8-0 in the fifth with an unearned run, but the Cardinals came screaming back in the top of the sixth. Sam Bumpers earned a leadoff single, and after a fielder's choice, Darian Johnson drew a walk to put two on and one out. Picha followed by ripping a ball just inside the first-base bag for a two-run double to put the Cardinals on the board. Two batters later, Bunner rolled a single through the left side to plate Picha and make it 8-3.
The Cardinals took advantage of Islanders defensive miscues in the seventh, tacking on two more runs on a walk and two errors to make it 8-5. The Islanders got an unearned run of their own in the bottom of the frame, though, as a wild throw from Bumpers on a potential double-play ball plated Lee to make it 9-5 in favor of the home team.
Lamar came right back in thundering fashion in the top of the eighth. Picha led off with a single, and after Seth Horton caught Seth Dornak looking for out number one, Bunner launched a ball over the wall in left for a two-run homer to make it 9-7. That lead carried over into the ninth, as the Cardinals got a walk and a single off Franco Pace with one out. Pace bounced back to strike out Picha, and with the righty Dornak due, head coach Scott Malone called on Dorris. The righty got a first-pitch strike, then saw Dornak's liner sail into Lee's glove in left to close out the victory.
The Islanders and Cardinals are slated for a 4 p.m. start on Saturday in game two of the series, with sophomore Trevor Belicek scheduled to face off with Lamar freshman Will Hibbs. For all the latest updates, be sure to stay tuned to the official Twitter account of Islanders Baseball (@CorpusBaseball).