NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Baseball team earned a 4-2 win on Thursday afternoon, taking the first game of a three-game Southland Conference series against Stephen F. Austin at Jaycees Field. The teams will play the second game at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.
The Islanders (31-21, 16-9 Southland) got an early run and led the entire way against the Lumberjacks (27-26, 14-11 Southland) in the opener of the final regular season series. Trevor Foss (8-6) was in control throughout, surrendering just four hits and two runs in the final inning on a home run by Hunter Dozier, the favorite to win the Southland Conference Player of the Year award. He walked one and struck out eight SFA batters.
The win keeps the Islanders in contention for the regular season Southland Conference Championship, with the winner being decided over the final three games of the season. The Islanders would need one more win and a Central Arkansas sweep of Sam Houston State, or two more wins and UCA taking two-of-three from SHSU.
All but two Islanders picked up a hit, with Eric Weiss and Jordan Lee leading the way with two apiece. Zach Taylor, Cody Stephens, Jonathan Gonzales, Brad Porras and Kyle Danford recording one hit each. Weiss, Porras and Brandon Tierney each added an RBI for the team.
The scoring started immediately, with Texas A&M – Corpus Christi plating the first run of the game in the top of the first inning. Taylor led off the game with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. He advanced to third when Stephens hit a ball to the shortstop, with Taylor beating the throw to third base on the fielder's choice. Weiss hit into another fielder's choice on the next play, with Stephens beating the throw to second and Weiss beating it out at first for the RBI as Taylor came in to score for a 1-0 lead.
Texas A&M – Corpus Christi added three more runs in the top of the sixth, with Weiss starting the inning with a leadoff single and moving to third on a single by Gonzales. Porras hit an RBI single through the left side to score Weiss as Gonzales moved up to second.
Lee added a hit in the inning, reaching on a bunt single to the left side and forcing a bad throw to allow Gonzales to score on an error by the third baseman and Porras to move over to third base. Tierney followed with an RBI groundout to the shortstop that allowed Porras to score an unearned run that made it a 4-0 game.
It would be all the Islanders needed, as Foss did not allow SFA's third hit of the game until the bottom of the sixth inning. He gave up just four hits total in the game, the last coming with two outs in the ninth as Dozier hit a 1-1 pitch over the left field wall with a runner on as Foss was working towards getting the final out. He induced a groundout back to the mound against the final batter of the game as the Islanders claimed the 4-2 victory.
The two teams will play a night game on Friday, with Trevor Belicek getting the start against Kyle Cross of SFA.
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