ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team (4-7) held off a late rally by UT Arlington (2-6) to pick up a 6-3 win in the series opener on Friday at Clay Gould Ballpark.
Matt Danton had another terrific start for the Islanders, as he gave up three runs on six hits in 7.2 innings of work to pick up his second win of the season.
Leading the team at the plate for the A&M – Corpus Christi was Jordan Lee, as he accounted for five of the six runs for the team, with two runs and three RBIs. Zack Gibson also came through with two RBIs on the night, going 2-of-three at the plate.
For the second consecutive game, the Islanders found themselves on top right out of the gate. This time it was Gibson who stepped up to the plate and drove it out to right field to bring Lee in to score on a sacrifice fly after Lee led the game off with a single up the middle.
Once again, A&M – Corpus Christi got its leadoff man to start the second inning, as Brandon Tierney became tied for the team lead with his fifth hit by pitch of the year to start things off.
He wasn't the man who eventually came around to score, as a fielder's choice took him off the bases, but Lee knocked in Dawson Yates to help contribute the second run of the game.
UTA's starter Zach Thompson settled down after that though, tossing four consecutive innings without giving up a run. He barely even gave up a hit setting down 12 hitters in a row before allowing a two-out knock by Zack Gibson in the bottom of the sixth.
However, Matt Danton was almost as unhittable on the mound for the Islanders. His first time pitching against the UTA lineup he set them down in order over the first three innings.
Things didn't come so easy for him the next time through the lineup though, as he allowed the first two runners to reach to start the top of the fourth for the first Mavericks' base runners of the night. He locked right back in, as he forced three consecutive fly outs to end the threat.
Danton then had a runner looming on third in the bottom of the fifth, but got yet another fly out to keep his shutout in tact.
That was when the offense for the Islanders found another rhythm against Thompson, getting the first three batters of the seventh inning on base to juice the bases with no outs. This brought lefty Zach Hobbs into the game to face lefty Lee.
However, the lefty batter had the advantage this time, knocking a single into left to plate two runners to run the lead up to five. The Islanders added one more on a groundout by Kyle Danford to give the visitors a commanding 6-0 lead heading into the seventh-inning stretch.
These runs became vital, as a two-out double by Darien McLemore to put runners on the corners and break up the shutout in the bottom of the eighth spelled the end of the night for Danton. It also spelled the start of a rally for the Mavericks, as Dalton D'Spain came on and allowed another double, this time to JM Twichell to plate both runners and shrink the lead to three.
After the Islanders went down in order, the threat became even more intense for UTA, as they loaded the bases with just one out. However, Kaleb Keith recorded two huge punchouts to pick up his second save of the season to open up the series with a win for the Islanders.
The teams will be back in action on Saturday for a doubleheader, starting with game one at 1 p.m. with Trevor Belicek facing off against Jess Amedee. Game two will follow shortly after with Devin Skapura on the mound, while UTA has yet to name a starter.
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