CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi softball team split their opening Southland Conference doubleheader today against Central Arkansas in the first home series at Chapman Field. The Islanders outhit the Bears 7-5 to pick up a 2-1 victory in the first game. In the second game, UCA connected on 12 hits to garner an 8-5 win. The Islanders (5-15, 1-1 SLC) and Bears (9-15, 1-1 SLC) will square off in a rubber match tomorrow at 10 a.m.
Hayley Galloway propelled the Islanders' bats in both games going 2-for-5 with three hits today. J.J. Jackson also picked up three hits and chipped in three RBIs in the split. Liz Carter secured the victory for the Islanders in the first game to earn her fifth victory in the circle.
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GAME 1: TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI 2, CENTRAL ARKANSAS 1
The Islanders jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third with a pair of runs on two hits. With one out, Galloway walked before Mickayla Cochran stepped to the plate and cranked her first triple of the season down the right field line to score Galloway and give the Islanders a 1-0 lead.
Jackson followed Cochran's lead with a RBI single to right field to plate Cochran and pad the lead to 2-0. Central Arkansas escaped the jam with a strikeout.
Carter and the Islanders' defense held the Bears off the board until the top of the fifth when UCA registered a run on one hit to pull within one. With two outs, Sam Forrest ripped a RBI double to right field to plate Amy Gunnells who reached on a fielder's choice.
In the final two frames, Carter (5-6) limited the Bears to just two hits while holding UCA off the board. The freshman was superb in seven innings, allowing just five hits and one run while walking three and striking out two Bears.
Ciara Clampitt (2-6) suffered the loss for the bears in six innings. She allowed seven hits, two runs, four walks while tallying four strikeouts.
GAME 2: CENTRAL ARKANSAS 8, TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI 5
The Islanders carried over the momentum into the second game with an early 5-0 lead with a combined three hits in the first two innings. In the bottom of the first, Morse started things off with her fifth home run of the season with a solo shot over the left field wall. Galloway followed with a base hit to left field before Valerie Perez reached on a fielding error by the Bears. With no outs, Jackson reached on a fielder's choice and advanced to second on a throwing error by UCA. On the same play, Galloway was called out at third but Perez scored to put the Islanders on the board. The Bear's hurler Kylee Studioso pulled UCA out of the inning with back-to-back strikeouts.
A&M - Corpus Christi padded their lead to 5-0 after putting together a three-run bottom of the second on one hit. After Studioso retired the first two Islanders, Dani Tefft and Morse reached on consecutive walks before Galloway loaded the bases after reaching on a Bears' throwing error. Perez followed with a RBI walk to plate Tefft before Jackson stepped to the plate and nailed a two-run single through the right side to score Galloway and Morse. With Islanders on first and second, Studioso escaped the jam with her third strikeout of the frame.
UCA responded with five-runs on four hits and capitalized on three Islanders' error in the top of the third to knot the game at 5-5. Randi Wallace led off the inning with a walk before scoring on a double by Forrest to center field. After Forrest advanced to third on an Islanders' fielding error, Sarah Bigej hit a single through the right side to score Forrest and pull the Bears within three. Freshman Katie Blanar then relieved Constance Brandenburg in the circle before Peyton Jenkins reached on an Islanders' throwing error to put Bears on the corners. UCA scored their third run of the inning after a throwing error plated Bigej. Jessie Taylor followed with a ground out to land Hannah Stirton, who came in to pinch run for Jenkins, on third. Briana Whisenhunt kept the rally going with a RBI single to shortstop to score Stirton and trim the Islanders' lead to one. Parker then hit a single to left field to advance Whisenhunt to third and put Bears in scoring position. Morse then picked off Parker at second for the second out of the frame, but Whisenhunt scored for the fifth run of the game. A ground out to Galloway at second ended the frame with the game even at 5-5.
The Bears scored a pair of runs in the top of the fifth and one in the seventh to seal the win. With two outs, Whisenhunt singled through the middle before Parker ripped a RBI double to right center to score Whisenhunt and put the Bears in front 6-5. Tylor Dodson then followed suit with a RBI single to right field to score Parker and extend the Bears lead to 7-5. Carter replaced Blanar in the circle to pull the Islanders out of the frame, leaving two Bears left on. UCA scored a run on one hit in the top of the seventh after Dodson scored on a single by Forrest before the Islanders tallied the 2-6-3 putout.
Galloway and Jackson both went 2-for-4 to lead the Islanders' offense while Morse and Natalie Zarzabal each added one hit apiece.
Brandenburg (0-6) took the loss for the Islanders. The senior allowed three hits, three runs, two of them earned, and three walks while striking out two in two innings. Blanar allowed six hits, four runs, three of them earned, while walking one in 2.2 innings. Carter limited the Bears to three hits and one run, while walking two and striking out three in 2.1 innings.