CORPUS CHRISTI (Islanders Athletics) - The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team was able to complete a late rally with two runs in the bottom of the eighth before No. 19 TCU scored three the next half inning to take a 7-4 win on Saturday at Whataburger Field.
Preston Morrison had a strong night on the mound for TCU (5-1), throwing seven innings with just five hits allowed and no earned runs. However, he did give up two unearned runs and eventually picked up a no decision since the bullpen squandered the lead down the stretch.
Kyle Danford had the big knock at the plate for the Islanders (3-6) with a two-run RBI in the bottom of the eighth that tied the game up.
Islanders' starter Trevor Belicek had a few issues finding the strike zone to start the game, hitting the first batter on a 3-2 count. A single moved the runner over to third before a groundout by Boomer White brought the run in for the first of the game.
The lefty battled back to end the inning and limit the damage, as he stranded runners on first and third with a strikeout and fly ball to end the top half of the first.
Jordan Lee got the Islanders offense off on the right foot, as he fought back from an 0-2 count, eventually picking up a leadoff single. Morrison was able to get himself out of the early trouble, though, starting a 1-6-3 double play following a flyout to end the inning.
After a scoreless second, the Islanders were able to push their first runs of the game across. With Brandon Tierney on third, it looked like Morrison would escape another jam, as Jordan Lee shot one straight up in the air. However, the third baseman charged in, but couldn't snag it and Tierney came in to score to tie the game at one.
Cody Stephens then dug in and ripped the first pitch he saw into the gap between left and center to bring the speedy Lee all the way into home from first to give the Islanders their first lead of the game, 2-1.
This was in the midst of Belicek rolling on the mound, as he didn't allow another run to come across from the second through the fifth inning. He was in a groove, setting down 12-of-14 batters during that stretch to send the Islanders into the sixth up 2-1.
TCU got to A&M – Corpus Christi's starter in the sixth, hanging a three spot to take a 4-2 lead. The big blow of the top half came on a two-run single through the right side of the infield by Dylan Fitzgerald.
Heading into the bottom of the eighth, the Islanders still were staring at a two-run deficit, needing a rally. With Alex Young taking over for Morrison, the Islanders brought on pinch hitter Zacarias Hardy who singled through the left side to start sending the momentum over to the Islanders dugout with one out.
The next two batters then got on via a walk and a hit by pitch to juice the bases. Young came back for a big strikeout before handing the reigns over to Riley Ferrel. Once again, Danford came up in a big spot and delivered with a single into a gap in the infield to bring two runners into score, tying the game up at four.
However, the Horned Frogs got out of the jam with a groundout to end the inning and came back to hang their second three-spot on the board off the power of two hits and two walks.
Connor Castellano drove one of the runs in on a double down the line to score a runner from third before Derek Odell knocked one through the right side of the infield with two outs to bring two big insurance runs in to clinch the victory for TCU.
With this being the final game in the Kleberg Bank College Classic for the Islanders, they will now hit the road for an extended period of time with six-straight games away from home. A&M – Corpus Christi will start its road trip with back-to-back midweek games at Texas State on Tuesday followed by a game on Wednesday at Baylor.
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