NATCHITOCHES, Louisiana – The A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team mounted a tremendous rally, scoring four runs in the top of the ninth to tie the game, before plating two more in the 13th to take a 7-5 victory in the four hour and 20 minute series opener against Northwestern State.
Cody Stephens delivered the heroics both times for the Islanders (20-19, 10-6 Southland), as he picked up a two-out double with the bases loaded in the ninth to bring around two runs to tie the game up at five. Later, he delivered the single in the 13th, which brought Brandon Tierney in for the eventual game-winning run.
With the win, A&M – Corpus Christi now moves into a tie with Northwestern State (22-15, 10-6) to go along with four other teams atop the Southland standings, as there is now a six-way tie for first.
Josh Garza had another fantastic day at the plate, as he picked up his second consecutive four-hit game, raising his batting average 63 percent over those two games. Tierney and Russell Vaughan also continued their hot stretch at the plate, both picking up three hits and one RBI.
The rest of the lineup picked up seven more hits to give the team 17 on the night, marking the fourth game in a row with at least 14 knocks. The Islanders now have double digit hits in eight of the last nine games.
The final two relief pitchers for the Islanders were also outstanding, with Jacob Dorris nearly matching his career-high with 3 1-3 innings, giving up just one hit and no runs. Kevin Landgrebe then came on and eventually picked up the win, allowing just one walk over two scoreless innings.
The Islanders struggled with runners in scoring position early on in the game, as they stranded three runners in scoring position over the first four innings. The Demons capitalized on their opponent's lack of production, as they were able to score three runs in the bottom of the fourth to jump out to an early 3-0 lead.
However, the Islanders came back to cut the deficit to two in the fifth, as Garza got on with a one-out double before Tierney drove him in with two outs.
That was all Northwestern State's starting pitcher, freshman Adam Oller, allowed before he departed after the sixth with the 3-1 lead. His team added on two more runs in the bottom of the eighth, while reliever Joey Parrack tossed scoreless innings in the seventh to put the Demons up 5-1 heading into the ninth.
It was a quick strike to start the rally for the Islanders, as Zack Gibson singled to start the inning before advancing to second on an error. Vaughan then followed up with a double to right center field to bring Gibson make it a 5-2 game.
The next two batters were set down though, making things even tougher on the Islanders. However, Jordan Lee and Tierney got on with a walk and a hit by pitch, before Frankie Salas drew another walk to cut the lead down to two. That set the table for Stephens to pick up the two-run double to tie the game up at 5-5 on his first hit of the game to send the game to extras.
Despite the Islanders slowing at the plate, it was then that the bullpen started to take control for A&M – Corpus Christi. In the 10th, Dorris worked out of huge jam, as he got a ground out followed by a strike out to strand the bases loaded for the Demons. He the came back to strand a runner on second in the 11th with another inning-ending strikeout.
After it was A&M – Corpus Christi stranding a runner on second in the top of the 12th, Landgrebe came on in the bottom half of the inning, picking up right where Dorris left off, as he struck out a batter with a Demon runner at second to end the threat.
In the 13th, the Islanders struck in a hurry once again, as after a fly out to start, Tierney singled before Zacarias Hardy doubled to left field to put runners on second and third with still one out.
Stephens then came through with his second RBI to put the Islanders on top, before Tyler Ware singled through the right side to bring Hardy in to score and give the Islanders a big insurance run. Landgrebe came back out and sealed the win for the visitors.
The teams will be back in action Saturday, as the Islanders will look to clinch the series with a game two win. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. with Trevor Belicek set to face Josh Oller.
Live audio will be available on GoIslanders.com, with live stats and video on NSUdemons.com.
To keep up with the action, fans can also follow the team on Twitter and Instagram (@IslandersBSB) and like it on Facebook (Islanders Baseball).