Bearkats Evens Series With Islanders In Walk-Off Fashion
It appeared as if lightning was going to strike twice today as the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders were on their way to taking the series from the Sam Houston State Bearkat baseball team.
But the Bearkats had other ideas.
Left fielder Luke Plucheck scored the game-winning run from third on a balk by reliever Philip Garcia to help the Bearkats defeat the Islanders 8-7.
“They are a good team,” Plucheck said. “Their record doesn’t show what kind of team they are…nobody wants to play a last place team because they always have something to prove.”
“Coming out here and getting a great win like that, especially in the fashion that we had to do it, is huge.”
The Islanders (18-25 overall, 10-13 SLC) jumped out earlier in the game when designated hitter Jonathan Gonzales lined a 2-run shot over the left field fence to take an 2-0 lead. Left fielder Jordan Lee led off the game and reached first when he was hit by a pitch by starting pitcher Justin Jackson and scored on the home run.
The Bearkats (30-12 overall, 18-5 SLC) responded in the bottom of the first inning when third baseman Kevin Miller hit an RBI single to left field that scored center fielder Colt Atwood from second to cut the Islander lead to 2-1.
Atwood led off the inning with an infield single and reached second on a sacrifice bunt by left fielder Luke Plucheck.
The Islanders increased their lead to 3-1 in the top of the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by center fielder Stafford Brantley.
First baseman Brad Porras led off the inning with a double to left field and advanced to third on a one out single by third baseman Westin Montgomery. Montgomery stole second base to take out the double play scenario and Porras scored from third on the sacrifice fly by Brantley.
The Kats finally capitalized and exploded for three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to lead it by the score of 4-3.
First baseman Ryan O’Hearn hit an RBI single to right field that allowed Plucheck to score from third base to pull within one.
On the next play, Miller scored the tying run on a fielder’s choice and right fielder Greg Olson laid down a perfect bunt that allowed designated hitter Jake Arrington to score the go-ahead run from third.
Olson was out on the play, but was credited with the RBI.
The lead did not hold up very long when the Islanders tied the game at 4 in the top of the seventh inning on a RBI single by short stop Drew Vest.
Then came the bottom of the seventh inning when catcher Shea Pierce led off with a single and advanced to second on a error by Vest that allowed Atwood to reach first. Then Plucheck drove the ball to centerfield that went over the head of Brantley that allowed both Pierce and Atwood to score. Montgomery couldn’t handle the relay throw and Plucheck took advantage of the situation and scored on the error.
The Islanders would not go away as Jordan Lee hit a two out, two-run single that went past a diving second baseman Jesse Plumlee to pull within a 7-6 score.
In the top of the ninth inning, Eric Weiss hit a double to left field that allowed Gonzales to score from second base to tie the game at 7.
The drama unfolded in the bottom of the ninth inning when Plucheck reached first after being hit by a pitch by reliever Tanner Green. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Miller.
They intentionally walked designated hitter Jake Arrington to try to set up a potential double play to get out of the inning and take the game to extras.
However, things did not go according to plan as Garcia, who came in relieve of Green to get a possible double play, was called for the balk that allowed Plucheck to score the game-winning run from third to end the game.
“I think right now, the Islanders are playing as well as they played all year…” head coach David Pierce said. “They’ve had very tough at-bats and fought us.”
“I tip my hat to our kids for staying focus and fighting back to get the win.”
The Bearkats used three pitchers in the game with reliever Michael Burchett picking up the win while Green suffered the loss for the Islanders.
The rubber match of the series concludes tomorrow at 1 p.m.