[Information provided by Northwestern State Athletics]
NATCHITOCHES – Texas A&M-Corpus Christi scored nine runs in the first two inning, chasing Northwestern State starting pitcher Jacob Roark after just a third of an inning, then cruised beat the Demons 13-5 in game two of the Southland Conference baseball series Saturday afternoon.
The two teams will play the rubber match at 1 on Sunday as the Demons look to secure their fifth conference series win in six tries.
The loss dropped the Demons to 14-18 overall and 10-7 in conference play as they fall into a second place tie with Southeastern Louisiana, an 8-1 winner over Texas State on Saturday. The Islanders improve to 14-20 on the season and 7-10 in the league.
Roark (2-3) took the loss after he lasted just one-third of an inning and gave up five runs, two of those earned, on four hits.
Corpus starter Adam Hoelscher improved his record to 6-3 on the season after he threw 5.2 innings and gave up five runs, all earned, on 10 hits with a walk and a strikeout.
The Islanders started off the game with three straight hits, two of those infield singles, then a hit-by-pitch on Stafford Brantley scored the game's first run.
Eric Weiss lined out to rightfield to make it 2-0 and the Demons' first error of the game loaded the bases. That was followed by a fielding error by Ryan Westbrook at third base that scored another run to make it 3-0 and Trevor Belicek belted a two-run single to rightfield scored two to make it 5-0 before head coach J.P. Davis lifted Roark for relieve A.J. Funk who got the next two batters to fly out.
NSU came back with three runs in the bottom of the inning to cut the deficit to 5-3 after a two-run double by Nick Hinojos and RBI fielder's choice from Nick Purdy.
The Islanders seemingly put things away with four runs in the top of the second after a throwing error by NSU third baseman Ryan Westbrook set up the big inning for Corpus. Drew Vest reached on Westbrook's error and made it all the way to third base on the play. He scored after Jonathan Gonzalez was hit-by-a-pitch and Brantley singled to make it 6-3.
Zach Winchester came in to relieve Funk and gave up a walk to Weiss and a two-run single to Jeramie Marek to put the Islanders up 8-3. A sacrifice bunt by Santiago Ruiz moved the runners up to second and third, and after another Demon pitching change, Jamie Bittle gave up back-to-back walks after a strikeout to allow another run to score and make it 9-3.
Matt Burns got a RBI single in the fourth to cut the lead to 9-4 but the Islanders came back with two in the sixth to go up 11-4 before a RBI single by Drew Helenihi made it 11-5.
Corpus, who put up a season-high 17 hits in the game, got another run in the seventh inning and one in the ninth to go up 13-5.
NSU put 11 hits up on the board as Hinojos had a 3-for-4 game with two RBI and a run scored. Westbrook and Burns added 2-for-3 games.
Jordan Lee led the Islanders at the plate with a 4-for-5 showing with two RBI and two runs scored as Gonzales finished the day 3-for-5 with two runs scored and Ruiz 3-for-5 with two RBI. In all, five Islander batters had two or more hits on the day.