CORPUS CHRISTI (Islanders Athletics) - The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Baseball team completed a three-game sweep of McNeese State on Sunday afternoon, winning 9-1 over the Cowboys to clinch a spot in the Southland Conference Tournament. The tournament will be held in Sugar Land, Texas from May 22-25 at Constellation Field, home of the Sugar Land Skeeters.
The Islanders (28-20, 13-8 Southland) got a big start from Matt Danton (5-2) and the Islanders offense provided the runs behind him. Danton went 6.1 innings, giving up just one run on five hits while striking out four and walking none on just 60 pitches. The Islanders bullpen closed the game with 2.2 innings of no-hit baseball, with Franco Pace going 1.2 perfect innings, while Thomas Casey finished it in the ninth with one walk and one strikeout.
In addition to clinching a spot in the Southland Conference Tournament, the Islanders moved into a tie for second place in the conference standings with two weeks to go.
Brad Porras got a pair of hits, a double and a two-run home run, to go along with three RBI as he led the way. Jonathan Gonzales, Brandon Tierney and Jordan Lee each added two hits, while Cody Stephens, Eric Weiss, Kyle Danford and Brad Lamberti added one hit apiece. Zach Taylor, Tierney, Lee, Danford and Lamberti also each picked up an RBI in the game.
The Islanders got on the board first, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning. Tierney started it off with a single and moved to second when Lee reached on a hit-by-pitch to put a pair of runners on. Tierney was cut down on a double steal attempt while Lee moved to second, and then Lee advanced to third on a wild pitch. Danford followed with a double down the left field line to score the first run as Lee came across to make it 1-0. Lamberti made it a 2-0 game after an RBI single plated Danford for the second run.
The Cowboys cut the lead in half during the top of the fifth, with Danton giving up his only run of the game on a solo home run by Skylar Barrentine to make it 2-1.
Texas A&M – Corpus Christi answered with two more runs in the sixth to extend the lead. Gonzales started the inning with a leadoff double and came around to score when Taylor laid down a sacrifice bunt to move him to third, and reached on an error by the catcher. Gonzales came around to score on the error, while Taylor advanced to second on the play. Tierney put down a sacrifice bunt to move Taylor to third, and Lee picked up an RBI on a single to center that made it 4-1.
Stephens helped add to the lead in the seventh, starting the inning off with a single, and scoring on an RBI double by Porras down the left field line. Porras advanced just one base on a double by Weiss, as he had to hold up to see if the ball dropped down the right field line. The Cowboys loaded the bases with an intentional walk to Gonzales, and Taylor picked up an RBI on a sacrifice fly to center that plated Porras. Tierney followed with a single up the middle to score Weiss and make it a 7-1 score.
The final runs came in the bottom of the eighth, with Dominic Lopez drawing a leadoff walk, and Porras followed with his second home run of the year, blasting a 0-1 pitch over the wall down the left field line to make it 9-1 and finish the scoring.
Next up for the Islanders will be the final home series of the season, a three-game set against Lamar at Chapman Field from May 10-12. The Sunday game will be Senior Day for Stafford Brantley, Eric Weiss, Trevor Foss, Adam Hoelscher, Tim Keller, Jonathan Gonzales, Franco Pace, Tim Beard, Brad Porras and Seth Horton.
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