May 12, 2012

Islanders Stage Two-Out Rally to Walk Off and Advance

SAN ANTONIO – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi softball team staged a furious two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh to walk off with a 2-1 win over UTSA at the 2012 Southland Conference Softball Tournament. The Islanders will play at 7 p.m. on Friday night at Roadrunner Field against either Sam Houston State or Central Arkansas.

With two down and the Islanders trailing 1-0, senior Cassie Redman started the rally with a bloop single to center that narrowly avoided the diving attempt of center fielder Courtney Buchman. Hannah Schwarz followed and, in an 0-2 count, lined a single to left center to put two on and two out for Megan McKinney. McKinney then hit a grounder to short on a 2-2 pitch, but it was misplayed and the bases were loaded with two down for Laura Phillips.

Phillips fouled off an inside pitch to start her at-bat, but was hit by the next pitch to bring in the tying run from third. That brought Jamise Jackson to the plate, and she fell behind 1-2, having struck out twice against the opposing pitcher. Jackson looped a ball just behind the circle, and the spin stopped it dead, as she dived across first base with Schwarz scoring the winning run to send the Islanders into a frenzy.

Schwarz went 3-for-3 to lead the offense, while Redman had two hits as well. In the circle, Vianca Pesina scattered five hits and a walk over five innings, while Greta Cecchetti came out of the bullpen to throw two shutout innings and collect the win. Alyssa Vordenbaum was carded with a tough-luck loss for UTSA after surrendering the two unearned runs in the seventh. She finished with five punchouts in 4 1/3 innings.

Neither team was able to crack the scoreboard in the first two innings, despite having solid chances to do so. The Roadrunners stranded a pair of players in the top of the first, while the Islanders had two hits in the bottom of the frame and were unable to score.

In the third, UTSA got on the board after a leadoff single by Laura Little. Little advanced to second on a sacrifice, and remained there after a flyout to center. But with two down, Megan Low came through with a single up the middle. Redman charged and gunned to the plate, but Phillips' tag came just after Little slid in for the first Roadrunner tally of the game.

The Islanders tried to counter in the bottom of the third, with a leadoff single, sacrifice and walk putting two on and one out. But UTSA brought in Vordenbaum to the circle, and she got out of it with a groundout and a strikeout to end the frame.

Meanwhile, Pesina continued a strong performance in the circle for A&M – Corpus Christi, allowing just one hit over the fourth and the fifth before surrendering a leadoff single in the sixth. She gave way to Cecchetti, and the senior retired six of the next seven players she faced.

The Islanders will play in another elimination game Friday evening at 7. Live stats and video for the contest will be available on Southland.org, and updates will be provided on Twitter @IslandersSball.