April 18, 2014

Tierney Hits Two Blasts to Lead Baseball to Series-Clinching Victory

NATCHITOCHES, La. — Brandon Tierney led the Texas A&M ­– Corpus Christi baseball team to a series clinching 5-3 victory in game two against Northwestern State, as the senior drilled two two-run homers on the night.

Tierney has been scorching at the plate for the, going 3-for-3 on the night with a single and two walks to go along with his pair of dingers. He now owns an 11-game hit streak, and has multi-hit games in seven of the last eight contests, including four consecutive three-hit games to see his average raise up to .352 and is now first on the team with 23 RBIs.

The win for the Islanders (21-19, 11-6 Southland) keeps them in a first-place tie in the conference, along with Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls State, while Northwestern State (22-16, 10-7) moves into a three-way tie for fourth.

Trevor Belicek had one of his best outings of the year, as he set down the first 17 Demon batters to start the game. The lefty finished the game going 7 1-3 innings, allowing three runs on three hits, while striking out nine to pick up his second win of the year. Jacob Dorris came on in the ninth to pick up his third save this season.

It was a pitcher's duel early on, as it was not until the top of the fourth that either team was able to move a runner into scoring position. Tyler Ware was the first to do so, reaching on a leadoff single before stealing second after Northwestern State's starter Josh Oller picked up consecutive strikeouts. However, Oller induced a grounder to end the inning and strand Ware.

After Belicek tallied his fourth straight perfect inning, Russell Vaughan promptly got the second A&M – Corpus Christi runner in scoring position, doubling to right center to start the fifth. But after Josh Garza moved him to third on a sacrifice bunt, it looked as if he might get stranded after a shallow fly out held him on third.

That was when Tierney unloaded on a full count pitch from Oller to record his first two-run shot of the game, which gave the Islanders their first lead of the game, 2-0, after five.

The score remained the same heading into the bottom of the sixth with Belicek still holding on to a perfect game. However, after consecutive strikeouts to start the inning, the southpaw allowed back-to-back walks to lose the perfect game. He promptly saw his no-no and shutout go away as well, as Caleb Dugas delivered the first hit for Northwestern State to plate a run and cut the lead to 2-1.

After a scoreless seventh, Jordan Lee picked up his first hit of the series with a knock off reliever Hunter Duvic. Tierney continued the rude welcome to the game for Duvic, as he destroyed his second dinger of the game, which put the Islanders up three.

A&M – Corpus added one more run in the top of the eighth, as Zack Gibson sent one deep enough to left field to bring in the Islanders' fifth run in via a sacrifice fly.

These two insurance runs proved to be very important for the visitors, as the Demons rallied back in the bottom half of the eighth to score two of their own. A single and a walk, followed by a double by Edwin Gomez made it a 5-2 game, resulting in the end of the night for Belicek.

Kaleb Keith came on, and threw a wild pitch that brought in the third Demon run of the game. Keith was unable to finish the at bat and departed with an injury, bringing Kevin Landgrebe into the game.

Landgrebe was able to settle things down with a strikeout for the second out, before Vaughan gunned out the would-be tying run, as the catcher erased Dugas on the throw down.

With the score still at 5-3 going into the bottom of the ninth, Dorris came in after throwing 3 1-3 innings in game one to secure the win for the Islanders.

The Islanders will go for the sweep Sunday, with the series finale set for 2 p.m. The game will feature two freshmen, as Devin Skapura will face off against lefty Austin Tanner.

To keep up with the action, fans can also follow the team on Twitter and Instagram (@IslandersBSB) and like it on Facebook (Islanders Baseball).