Two-Run Eighth Inning Lifts ACU over Islanders, 7-6
ABILENE, Texas – A two-run bottom of the eighth lifted Abilene Christian to a 7-6 extra-inning victory over the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team today in the final game of the series at Poly Wells Field. After falling behind 5-0, the Islanders (7-27, 2-10 SLC) rallied back in the sixth and seventh innings before a pair of costly errors secured the win for the Wildcats (15-18, 4-2 SLC).
J.J. Jackson went 2-for-2 while Valerie Perez hit 2-for-4 to lead the Islanders' offense. Jessica Mendez also had a solid day at the plate, reaching base all four times, including a leadoff double in the top of the sixth.
The Wildcats opened with a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first with a pair of runs on three hits. Paige Stevens led off the frame with a single through the left side and Taylor Brown followed with a single through the middle to put Wildcats on first and second. Lyndi Smith then loaded the bases after reaching on an Islanders' fielding error in the infield. Perez snagged the first out at shortstop before Cassidy Ivy recorded the 1-2 putout on the fielder's choice for the second out of the frame. With two outs, Ashley Nolan hit a two-run single through the middle to score Brown and Smith. Perez pulled the Islanders out of the frame leaving two Wildcats on after a 6-3 putout.
ACU added a run in the second and third frames to push their lead to 4-0. With two outs, Brown hit a RBI single to center field to score Demi McNulty, who reached on a single to right center. In the bottom of the third, with two outs the Wildcats tacked on another run after Kyla Simmons hit a RBI double to left center to plate Nolan, who reached on a fielder's choice.
Perez registered the Islanders' first hit of the game with a single to center field with one out in the top of the fourth. However, ACU's Emily Seidel retired the side to end the frame.
The Wildcats posted their fifth run of the game in the bottom of the fourth with one run on four hits. Demi McNutty started the inning with an infield single before advancing to second on a bunt single by Stevens. After the fielder's choice by Brown landed McNutty on third, Smith hit a RBI single through the middle to score McNutty.
The Islanders' bats came alive in the top of the sixth and seventh frames to rally back and even the game at 5-5. In the top of the sixth, the Islanders plated four runs on three hits to pull within one. After reaching on back-to-back walks in the first and third frames, Mendez led off the frame with her second career double down the right field line and advanced to third after Dani Tefft hit an infield ground out. A&M - Corpus Christi kept the rally going after Brittney Morse cranked her seventh career home run over the right center wall to score Mendez and put the Islanders on the board.
Perez then reached on an ACU fielding error before Laura Phillips earned a walk to put runners on first and second for the Islanders. After Michelle Sorenson came in to pinch run for Phillips, Perez advanced to third and Sorenson landed on second on a wild pitch. J.J. Jackson then stepped to the plate and nailed a two-run single to right center to score Perez and Sorenson and trim the Wildcat's lead to one. ACU ended the inning after Cassie Carroll hit into a double play.
In the top of the seventh, the Islanders kept the momentum going to knot the game at 5-5. Mickayla Cochran reached on an ACU fielding error before Mendez reached on her third walk of the day. Tefft followed with a RBI ground out to score Cochran and even the game.
A&M - Corpus Christi's defense was strong in the bottom of the seventh leaving bases loaded for the Wildcats. ACU loaded the bases after a single by Madison Buckley and back-to-back walks. With two outs, Carroll snagged the line out at third to pull the Islanders out of the jam and force extra innings.
Perez led off the top of the eighth with her eighth double of the season with a shot to right center and landed on third after Laura Phillip's sacrifice bunt. Jackson then stepped to the plate and drilled a RBI go-ahead single through the left side to score Perez and put the Islanders in front, 6-5.
The Wildcats wouldn't go away though, scoring a pair of unearned runs with two outs in the bottom of the eighth to win, 7-6.
After Stevens hit a ground out, Brown followed with an infield single and landed on second with a stolen base. Liz Carter followed with her second strikeout of the game before an Islanders' fielding error scored Brown and an Islanders' throwing error plated Courtney Flanary to end the game.
Carter (6-14) suffered the loss for the Islanders in 4.2 innings. She freshman allowed six hits and three runs, just one of them earned, while walking three and striking out two.
Hannah Null (9-6) picked up the win for the Wildcats in 2.2 innings. She held the Islanders to three hits and two runs, one of them earned, while walking one and striking out one.
The Islanders will return home to host UTSA on Wednesday, April 2, in a single game starting at 3 p.m. at Chapman Field.
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