CORPUS CHRISTI – After dropping a 10-2 opening game against Sam Houston State, junior Valerie Perez cranked a two-run walk-off homer over the right center wall to lift the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi Islanders to a 6-5 game two victory Saturday afternoon at Chapman Field.
Perez recorded her second career home run and first of the season while Mickayla Cochran drilled her fourth career homer in the victory as the Islanders (8-30, 3-14 SLC) snapped a five-game losing skid to win their third conference game of the season.
The Islanders will take on the Bearkats (24-19, 10-7 SLC) tomorrow in a rubber match at Chapman Field. First pitch is slated for 11 a.m.
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GAME 1: SAM HOUSTON STATE 10, TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI 2 (5 INNINGS)
The Bearkats jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first on four hits. After a ground out, Cecilia Castillo singled down the right field line before Tiffany Castillo followed with a single to shortstop to land her sister on second. Carroll recorded the second out of the inning with a pop fly at third before Ashley Isbell ripped a RBI double to left field to score Cecilia Castillo and advance Tiffany Castillo to third. Sam Houston State extended their lead to 4-0 after Kim Damian hit a three-run homer to right field to score Isbell and Tiffany Castillo.
Sam Houston State plated two more runs in the top of the third on one hit. With two outs, Isbell and Damian reached on back-to-back walks by Islanders' hurler Ashley Elicerio before they both recorded stolen bases. Shelbi Tucker then singled to left field to plate Isbell and advance Damian to third. The Bearkats plated their sixth run of the game after Damian scored on a wild pitch. After Alyssa Coggins reached on a walk, the Islanders pulled out of the inning with a ground out to Elicerio.
The Bearkats added a run in the fourth and three in the fifth to pad their lead to 10-0 on a combined four hits. Carroll recorded the Islanders first hit of the game in the bottom of the fourth with a double to right field with one out but was stranded as Bearkats' pitcher Meme Quinn retired the next two Islanders.
The Islanders rallied back in the bottom of the fifth with two runs on one hit but it wasn't enough as Sam Houston State captured the win 10-2 in five innings. Laura Phillips led the inning with a hit by pitch before Cochran reached on a walk to put runners on first and second for Hayley Galloway. The sophomore followed with a sacrifice bunt to advance Dani Tefft, who pinch ran for Phillips, to third and Cochran to second. After a Quinn punch out, McKinney drilled a single to right field to score Cochran and Tefft and put the Islanders on the board. However, Perez followed with a ground out to end the game.
Elicerio (2-16) took the loss for the Islanders. The freshman allowed eight hits, seven runs and three walks while striking out one in four innings. Bethany Slick came in for relief for Elicerio and allowed two hits, three runs and three walks in one inning.
Quinn (8-4) picked up the victory for the Bearkats. She allowed two hits, two runs, one of them earned, while walking three and striking out four in five innings.
GAME 2: TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI 6, SAM HOUSTON STATE 5
The Islanders bounced back in game two with eight hits to propel their way to a 6-5 victory. After falling behind early 4-0, the Islanders rallied back to plate two in the third before knotting the score at 4-4 in the fifth. After Sam Houston State's Ashley Isbell hit a homer to push the Bearkats ahead 5-4 in the top of the seventh, Perez cranked a two-run walk-off homer to lift the Islanders to a 6-5 victory.
Perez went 2-for-4 to power the Islanders' bats while Cochran, Elicerio, Carroll, Tefft, Phillips and Lindsey Lyles all chipped in one apiece.
Sam Houston State scored early with three runs on three hits in the top of the first. Tori Benavidez led the game off with a leadoff triple to right field. After back-to-back ground outs to Carroll at third, Isbell reached on a walk by Islanders' pitcher Constance Brandenburg. With runners on the corners, Damian singled down the left field line to score Benavidez. Hillary Adams followed with a single through the left side to score Damian and Isbell. The Islanders pulled out of the inning with a ground out to Carroll at third.
The Bearkats tacked on another run in the top of the third to make it 4-0 after Damian singled up the middle to score Tiffany Castillo after she reached on a leadoff single to right center.
The Islanders pulled within two in the bottom of the third with two runs on one hit. With one out, Tefft reached on an error at third and landed on second after she recorded her sixth stolen base of the season. Cochran then stepped to the plate and cranked her fourth career homer over the right field wall.
The Islanders followed with two hits in the bottom of the fourth before knotting the score in the bottom of the fifth with two runs on two hits. Tefft led the frame off with a single to the pitcher before Cochran reached on a fielder's choice as Tefft was called out on the play. Cochran landed on second on a Galloway ground out before Lyles reached on a walk. After Cochran and Lyles both advanced on a passed ball, Perez ripped a single up the middle to plate Cochran and Lyles and even the score at 4-4.
The Bearkats answered back in the top of the seventh with a one-out homer to right center by Isbell to take a 5-4 lead before Brandenburg retired the next two Bearkats.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi rallied back once again to win the game in the bottom of the seventh. Galloway led the inning with a fly out to center field before Lyles reached on a walk. Natalie Zarzabal came in to pinch run for Lyles before Perez stepped to the plate and recorded the two-run walk-off homer to lift the Islanders to victory.
Brandenburg (5-11) picked up the victory for the Islanders. She allowed nine hits and five runs while walking three and striking out three in seven innings.
Quinn (8-5) took the loss for the Bearkats after replacing Shelby Lancaster in the bottom of the sixth. Quinn allowed two hits and two runs while walking two and striking out two in 1.1 innings. Lancaster allowed six hits, four runs, three of them earned while walking two in five innings.
Valerie Perez's walk-off home run: