CORPUS CHRISTI – Brandon Montalvo's RBI single in the top of the eighth broke a 2-2 tie, as Central Arkansas rallied past the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi baseball team for a 4-2 victory on Saturday at Chapman Field. Jordan Lee and Dawson Yates each had two hits for the Islanders (7-13, 1-1 Southland) in a losing effort.
Trevor Belicek collected a tough-luck loss, tossing 7 2/3 solid innings, surrendering six hits and three walks with seven Ks to fall to 0-4 on the season. Connor Gilmore collected his first win of the year for UCA (9-7, 1-1), scattering eight hits in a complete-game victory. Chris Townsend added three hits offensively for the Bears in the win.
As it was in the first game of the series, Central Arkansas wasted no time in getting on the board against the Islanders. Tyler Langley got things going with a double to left off of Belicek, then advanced to third on a sacrifice. Townsend followed with a single up the middle to bring Langley home and put the visitors up 1-0. Belicek then ran into some wildness, allowing two hit batsmen and a walk over the next four batters to plate another run. Belicek bounced back, though, striking out Matt Anderson to end the inning with UCA up 2-0.
The Islanders got two runs back in the bottom of the third. Lee started things with a one-out single, then stole second and advanced to third on a balk. Brandon Tierney followed, and put the Islanders on the board with an RBI groundout to make it 2-1. The Islanders then mounted a two-out rally, as Tyler Ware reached on an infield single, stole second, and came home on Cody Stephens' double to left to make it 2-2.
Both pitchers got into a rhythm after allowing crooked numbers in their respective innings. Belicek surrendered just three singles – two on the infield – and two walks from the second through the seventh.
Gilmore was equal to the task, facing the minimum in the fourth, fifth and sixth to keep the Islanders at bay. A&M-Corpus Christi put forth a two-out rally in the seventh, with an error, a single and a walk loading the bases for Ware. But Gilmore got the junior to fly out to right to end the threat with the score still knotted 2-2.
In the eighth, UCA was able to pull ahead with a pair of runs. Belicek clipped the leadoff hitter, Nate Ferrell, with a pitch, and Ferrell gave way to pinch-runner Nick Rougeau. A sac bunt moved him to second, but Belicek rebounded with a strikeout to put two away. Montalvo came up next, and delivered a single through the left side to plate Rougeau and put the Bears back ahead, 3-2. Kevin Landgrebe came on in relief and surrendered back-to-back bloop singles to plate another run and make it 4-2 before Kaleb Keith finished off the inning with a punchout.
The Islanders mounted a rally in the bottom of the eighth, getting two runners on and one away. But Gilmore caught Jacob Hubert looking and Russell Vaughan was retired on a groundout to end the frame. Gilmore later retired the Islanders in order in the ninth to finish off the complete game.
The two teams will play the rubber match of the series on Sunday at 11 a.m. at Chapman Field. Freshman Devin Skapura is slated to go for the Islanders, while Chris Caudle will get the ball for UCA.
For all the latest on Islanders Baseball, be sure to follow the team on Twitter and Instagram (@IslandersBSB) and like the squad's official Facebook page (Islanders Baseball).