CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team dropped its first Southland Conference series of the season 9-3 to Houston Baptist Sunday in a rubber match at Chapman Field. After the two teams split yesterday, the Huskies jumped out early to plate two runs in the first and three in the second before scoring three in the sixth and one in the seventh.
The Islanders (6-17, 1-2 SLC) were led by Hayley Galloway, Valerie Perez and Dani Tefft who all chipped in one hit apiece. Constance Brandenburg (4-8) was tagged with the loss after going two innings and giving up five runs, four of them earned, on seven hits with one walk. The Islanders left 10 runners stranded while the Huskies left eight.
The Huskies (7-6, 2-1 SLC) were powered by Corpus Christi natives Lauren Schwirtlich and her sister Kristin Schwirtlich. L. Schwirtlich went 3-for-5 while K. Schwirtlich went 2-for-3 for the Huskies were earned their first SLC series victory in program history. HBU recorded 14 hits in the contest.
HBU got on board in the opening frame with two runs on three hits. With one out, Rebecca Rademacher singled up the middle before L. Schwirtlich ripped a double to left field. After an Islander mishap at the plate, HBU plated two runs to take an early lead. Daniella Rodarte followed with a single and Callie Herrington was hit by the pitch to load the bases but the Islanders pulled out of the jam with a pop fly and a ground out to Brandenburg in the circle.
The Huskies padded their lead in the top of the second on four hits and three runs to take a 5-0 lead before the Islanders got on board in the bottom of the third. Tefft started things off with a leadoff single to shortstop and advanced to second after Mickayla Cochran reached on an error by the shortstop. After a punch out, the Islanders loaded the bases when Meagan McKinney was hit by the pitch. With one out, a wild pitch by HBU's Lori Earl scored Tefft to put the Islanders on the board. The Huskies followed with their second strikeout of the inning before Lindsey Lyles walked to load the bases again for the Islanders. However a J.J. Jackson ground out to shortstop capped the inning.
The Islanders' bats kept the momentum going with a two-hit two-run bottom of the fourth. With one out, Laura Phillips walked and Tefft reached on a throwing error by Earl and advanced Michelle Sorenson, who came in to pinch run for Phillips, to third. After Earl's fourth strikeout of the game, Galloway drilled a single through the left side to plate Sorenson. Galloway then landed on second with her first stolen base of the season and Tefft tallied her fourth stolen base of the season to advance to third. McKinney followed suit reaching base on a walk to load the bases. With two outs, Perez hit a RBI shot through the left side to plate Tefft and pull the Islanders within two. However, Houston Baptist escaped as Kendall Stiefel relieved Earl in the circle to retire the next Islander.
The Huskies posted three runs in the top of the sixth to take an 8-3 and knocked in one run in the top of the seventh to wrap the series.
Elicerio relieved Brandenburg in the top of the third and gave up four runs, two of them earned, on seven hits with one walk in five innings.
Earl (2-1) picked up the victory for the Huskies in 3.2 innings. She allowed three hits, three runs and five walks while striking out four batters. Stiefel allowed just one walk and didn't allow a hit or a run in 3.1 innings.
The Islanders will host UTSA for a midweek single game on Wednesday, March 13, at 3 p.m. at Chapman Field.
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