CORPUS CHRISTI – Kyle Thornell went 4-for-5 with two home runs and five RBIs, as Stephen F. Austin held off the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi baseball team for a 12-10 victory over the Islanders on Saturday evening at Chapman Field. The Lumberjacks (14-15, 5-6 Southland) snapped a seven-game winning streak for the Islanders (17-16, 7-4) in the process.
All nine starters for the Lumberjacks hit safely in the game, as SFA piled up 18 hits in the victory. Ricardo Sanchez and Zach Marberry each recorded three hits, while Brett Thornell and Mackenzie Handel had two apiece. Dillon Mangham was credited with the win on 5 2/3 innings of solid work, while Tyler Wiedenfeld picked up the save with 2 2/3 frames out of the bullpen.
Jordan Lee went 3-for-5 with a home run, while Russell Vaughan delivered a 2-for-4 contest with three RBI and two runs scored. Brandon Tierney and Josh Garza each posted multi-hit games. Trevor Belicek was credited with the loss after surrendering eight runs in 3 1/3 innings.
SFA took advantage of Islanders miscues to plate three runs in the top of the first. After the leadoff man reached on an error, Sanchez was hit by a pitch to put two on and nobody out. A fielder's choice then put runners on the corners and one away. Marberry then lifted a high flyball to right, but it was dropped by Jacob Hubert, allowing a run to score. An RBI groundout and a then a run-scoring single off the bat of Nick Ramos made it 3-0 in favor of the 'Jacks.
Then in the fourth, the 'Jacks tacked on a huge five-spot to push the lead to eight. Thornell got things going with a two-run homer with one away, and he was the first of six straight Lumberjacks to card hits in the frame. Matthew Dickey started it with a triple, then three of the next four hitters delivered RBI singles to put the score at 8-0 in favor of the SFA.
The Islanders were able to bounce back with a trio of two-out runs in the bottom of the fourth. With two down and a runner at first, Hubert reached on an error by the third baseman. Vaughan followed by ripping a double to left center, plating both runners to make it 8-2. Josh Garza followed by roping a liner that glanced off the leaping shortstop's glove for an RBI single.
SFA was able to get a run back in the top of the fifth on a Sanchez RBI single, but Nolan Holland rebounded to get a huge strikeout, stranding the bases loaded full of Lumberjacks, as SFA held a 9-3 lead midway through the fifth. The Islanders had a similar inning in the bottom of the sixth, plating a run on an error by the shortstop and leaving the bases loaded for a 9-4 ballgame through six.
Then, in the bottom of the seventh, the Islanders came roaring back with three more runs to cut the deficit to just two. Kyle Danford started the inning with a single and Lee followed by obliterating a pitch to deep right field for his second home run of the season. Tyler Ware later drew a one-out walk, advanced to third on a Zack Gibson single and came home on a Vaughan RBI groundout to make it 9-7.
The Islanders added another run in the bottom of the eighth on a bizarre play. With the bases loaded and one out, Dominic Lopez flew out to left-center field to score Brandon Tierney and move Danford to third. But the Lumberjacks appealed to second base, and Danford was ruled to have left early. The run, however, stood, as the play was dead before the appeal, and the home squad headed to the ninth down 9-8.
But it was Thornell who came through in the top of the ninth. A walk and a single put two on and one out, but Jacob Dorris came on and got a big popout. The joy was short-lived, though, as Thornell drilled the first pitch he saw over the wall in right center for a three-run homer, his second of the night, to make it a 12-8 ballgame.
A&M-Corpus Christi would not fade quietly in the ninth, though. Ware led off with a walk, and two batters later, Vaughan drilled a double to left center to put two on and one out. After pinch-hitter Dawson Yates went down on strikes, Tierney drilled a double to the base of the wall to cut the deficit to 12-10. But that was as close as the Islanders would get, as Stephens flew out to end the game.
The Islanders and Lumberjacks will wrap up the weekend series on Sunday at Chapman Field, with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. Devin Skapura (3-2, 3.00 ERA) will get the ball for A&M-Corpus Christi, while Kevin Bishop (1-3, 5.53) is slated to take the hill for SFA. Live stats and video will also be available on GoIslanders.com, while updates will also be provided on Twitter (@IslandersBSB).