Entering the eighth inning on Saturday, the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi baseball team was in a five-run hole and being outhit 11-2, but then something happened. The Islanders scored a run. And another. And another. By the time the eighth came to a close, the Islanders hung an eight-spot on the board, leading to an 8-5 win over Stephen F. Austin.
The Islanders (14-25, 6-11) rallied for eight runs on four hits and two errors in the inning, setting up a rubber match on Sunday. Six of the eight runs came with no outs.
"It's a huge win for us," head coach Scott Malone said. "A big credit to my assistants, because we kept preaching in the fifth, sixth and seventh that this thing was going to turn around. We didn't really have a reason to believe when you looked out at the hit column, but we stayed positive through it. We kept telling those guys to put two at-bats together and this thing would roll over.
"All of the sudden, you get a couple of guys on base and get a big hit, now you're telling them we're going for a save. We've had games where we've had runs pulled from under us late, and we just did that to one of the best teams in the league."
Lumberjacks (23-18, 12-5) starting pitcher Trevor Kiminski had the right stuff early on the mound, giving up two hits in seven innings of work with four strikeouts, but took a no decision on the afternoon.
SFA took the lead in the first on Josh Evans' RBI single through the right side. After Islanders starting pitcher Cole Carter worked himself out of a jam in the third, Josh Campbell and Tyler Kendrick extended the visitors' lead in the fourth. Campbell brought in a run on a comebacker to the mound, before Kendrick singled through the right side. A Conner Fikes solo homer to leadoff the fifth and Nick Ramos' RBI single made it 5-0 SFA and set up the comeback for the Blue and Green.
In the eighth, Corpus Christi chased Kiminski with a pair of leadoff walks to Dawson Yates and Cam Boudreaux. The latter put the Blue and Green on the board when he scored on a wild pitch. Dalton Stark cut the deficit down to three when he reached on an error, as Yates came in from third.
Jackson Owens added a pair of scores with a bases clearing triple of the wall in center. Brett Burner tied the game with a single to right on a 1-1 pitch to plate Owens, which would spell the end to reliever Seth Campbell's day.
Nick Anderson set the Islanders in a position to complete the rally by putting runners on the corners, before stealing second. Burner put the Blue and Green ahead for the first time during the next at-bat. Harrison DiNicola hit a chopper to the first baseman, who launched an off-target throw home as Burner crossed the plate.
Yates drilled a sacrifice fly to the warning track in right to put Corpus Christi up by two. During the next at-bat Itchy Burts, who came in to pinch run for DiNicola at third, bolted for home when Cole Ridgely sent an errant pitch to the plate.
Six Islanders notched a base hit in the win, while five different players drove in a run, led by Owens with two.
Carter scattered 11 hits and gave up five earned runs in 5 2/3 innings on Saturday, while fanning four and walking one.
Chris Cooper stepped to the mound for the three-out save with 10 pitches. Caleb Hanks (3-0) picked up the win for his 2/3 innings of action. Combined, the bullpen of Hanks, Cooper and Korey Rasure did not allow an SFA hit over the final 3 1/3 innings.
The Islanders and the Lumberjacks will square off with the series on the line tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Chapman Field. The game will be broadcast on the Islanders Digital Network.