CORPUS CHRISTI (Islanders Athletics) - The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Baseball team earned another run-rule victory on Sunday, winning 12-2 in seven innings against Northwestern State as the Islanders moved into a four-way tie for first place with the series win.
The Islanders (21-14, 8-4 Southland) picked up the final two games of the series against Northwestern State (11-25, 2-10 Southland) after falling by run-rule final on Friday, making all three contests shorter than the scheduled nine innings. It was also the third straight series that the team has won in Southland Conference play.
Matt Danton (4-1) was effective through six innings, giving up just two runs eight hits while striking out a pair of Demons. He was lifted for Seth Horton, who came on to pitch the final inning.
Jonathan Gonzales had a big day at the plate, going 4-for-4 with two RBI, while Stafford Brantley picked up three hits and three RBI as the Islanders poured it on. Zach Taylor added two hits, while Jordan Lee, Dominic Lopez, Eric Weiss, Cody Stephens and Brandon Tierney picked up one hit apiece. Taylor also finished with two RBI, while Lee, Lopez, Weiss, Stephens and Tierney also added one each.
The Islanders struck quickly in the bottom of the first, as Taylor sent the first pitch of the game from Robert Baker into right field for a single. Lee then reached on a hit-by-pitch, and a wild pitch sent both runners into scoring position. After Weiss struck out, Gonzales came through, ripping an 0-2 pitch to center to score both runners and give the home squad a 2-0 lead.
The score remained that way until the top of the fourth, when the Demons plated a pair of runs on three hits to tie it up 2-2. Nick Purdy, Todd Wallace and Regan Kaufman all delivered base hits in the frame as Danton ran into trouble before stranding a pair of runners to limit the damage.
Texas A&M – Corpus Christi immediately responded, getting a two-out ambush to score six runs in the inning between the second and third outs. Gonzales led things off with a double down the right field line, but two outs were recorded as he moved up just one base to third. Russell Vaughan and Tierney then followed with walks to load the bases
That is when the scoring started, as Gonzales scored on a wild pitch that was also ball four to Tierney, and then Brantley singled through the left side to score Vaughan for the second run of the inning. Taylor followed with a two-RBI single through the right side that brought home Tierney and Brantley to make it 6-2. Lee tripled home Taylor for another run, then Weiss followed with a single of his own to finish the scoring in the inning. Once the dust settled, the Islanders had taken control with an 8-2 score, getting six runs on six hits in the bottom of the fourth.
That score would hold until the bottom of the seventh, as the team plated four more, including a walk-off single to invoke the run-rule ending.
Gonzales started the inning off with another double, this time down the left field line, and Jacob Hubert would come on to pinch run for the designated hitter. Hubert moved to third on a wild pitch, then Stephens came up with an RBI single through the right side to make it 9-2. Vaughan walked once again to put runners on first and second, and then a pitch hit Tierney to load the bases.
After the Demons changed pitchers, Brantley singled to center as Vaughan and Stephens came around to score for an 11-2 lead. Lopez came on to pinch hit and placed a single through the right side, bringing Brantley home for the walk-off hit and a 12-2 final in seven innings.
Next up for the Islanders will be a midweek contest against future Southland Conference member Houston Baptist. They will face off on Tuesday, April 16 on the HBU campus. In the previous meeting between the two teams, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi won 5-4 at Chapman Field on March 27.
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