CORPUS CHRISTI (Islanders Athletics) - The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team scored three unanswered runs to close out the game to pick up a 7-4 win in the series opener against Valparaiso in the Islanders' first game of the season in Chapman Field.
Due to inclement weather in the forecast for later in the weekend, the two teams will play a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday in lieu of the scheduled single games on Saturday and Sunday. The teams will play one seven-inning game and one nine-inning game on Saturday.
Russell Vaughan led the Islanders (6-9) with three hits, while Brandon Tierney and Jordan Lee each went 2-for-3 in the win.
The home squad wasted no time in getting to starter Cole Webb, batting around in the first inning to the tune of four runs. A&M-Corpus Christi got two on with two out, then staged a rally. Tyler Ware got things going with an infield single that plated Lee, and Zack Gibson came around as the ball trickled away from Webb at the first-base bag to make it 2-0. Tierney followed with a single, then Dominic Lopez and Vaughan followed with RBI singles of their own to make it 4-0.
But Valparaiso came back with four of their own in the top of the third. Bryce Hara led things off with a double into the right-field corner, and two batters later a walk put runners at the corners with one away. Chris Manning then delivered the first run of the game for the Crusaders, rolling a single through the left side to plate Hara and make it 4-1. Karch Kowalczyk followed and lifted a flyball to right that carried over the wall for his second home run of the year, a three-run shot, to tie the game at 4-4.
Both pitchers settled in at that point, with Danton and Webb flirting with danger in the fourth but emerging unscathed.
After a groundout and strikeout started the bottom half of the inning, the Islanders put together a two-out rally to spark a turnaround in the fifth. Ware led things off with a walk before Brandon Tierney dropped one into the gap in right field to give the Islanders a 5-4 lead.
In the sixth, it was an errant throw by the pitcher on a sac bunt by Josh Garza that put runners on second and third with no outs. Lee then ripped one to center field, which was deep enough to allow Vaughan to tag up and score the sixth run of the game to put the Islanders up two through six.
This was plenty of run support for Danton, who settled down after the four-run third, posting zeros his final four innings pitched. This gave Danton his third win of the season, going seven innings with four earned runs and six strikeouts.
Coming on in relief of Danton was Jacob Dorris, as the righty only allowed one hit in two shutout innings pitched to pick up his first save of the season. The Islanders added an insurance run in the eighth on a double steal that saw Lee come across the plate.
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