February 23, 2009

ISLANDERS, UTSA TO BATTLE AT WHATABURGER IN A NON-SLC CLASH

The 2009 edition of the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi baseball team will be making its home debut on Tuesday when it hosts Southland Conference preseason favorite UTSA at Whataburger Field at 6:30 p.m. in a nonconference tilt.

The Islanders enter the game with a 1-3 mark after opening the season with a four-game series at New Mexico. A&M-Corpus Christi opened the series with a 13-3 win, but dropped the final three games. UTSA opened the season at home going 3-1 over San Francisco at Wolff Stadium. The meeting is the first since the Islanders ended the Roadrunners season at last year's Southland Conference Tournament.

"It is an odd nonconference game against a conference team" said Islander coach Scott Malone. "UTSA was the preseason pick to win the Southland and is a tough early challenge. Every time you play at home you want to win and it will be an exciting home opener."

The Islanders are sending Corpus Christi native Roy Ferdin to mound to face former Corpus Christi Moody standout Marc Gomez, who will be making his first collegiate start after tossing one inning against the Dons. Ferdin will be making his second start of the season after earning the win in the season opener. The lefty pitched seven innings allowing two runs on five hits.

"With Roy on the mound, we feel like we have a chance to win every time out," said Malone. "He's had really good command of all his pitches and should go out and give us a good start.

"Their pitcher was a standout at Moody giving the game some added intrigue with two locals starting for each team on the mound."

Offensively, the Islanders are hitting .285 as a team. Martin Parra is leading the team with a .467 average, while Stephen Flora is batting .400 with a home run and a team-best four runs batted in. Flora is one of four Islanders with three runs scored. The others are freshmen Jeramie Marek and Chris Famiglietti and sophomore Jacob Perales.

UTSA hit .320 at the plate as a team against the Dons. Aaron Powell led the Roadrunners with a .471 batting average, seven runs scored and two home runs. He shared the RBI lead with Josh Hernandez. Michael Rockett, a preseason All-American choice in several publications, and Tyler Carpenter each hit .412.

The game is final tune-up before the team hosts Texas State in a three-game Southland Conference series at Whataburger Field. The series begins with a 6:30 p.m. contest on Friday night, followed by games at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.