Former Texas A&M-Corpus Christi pitcher Justin Grota has signed a spring training contract with the Las Cruces Vaqueros of the Continental Baseball League.

Grota was signed after trying out for the team in Albuquerque, N.M. He was one of 16 players selected to attend the team's spring training season which begins April 24. The team will select 10 pitchers and 15 position players for its opening-day roster.

"Justin is the classic overachiever," said Islander head coach Scott Malone. "I wish every day that I would have 10 players just like him that had the same work ethic and passion for this university and the program.

"He never had the hardest or best stuff, but he always battled and found a way to give us a chance to win. I am excited that he is getting a chance at the next level."

In two seasons with the Islanders, Grota amassed a 4-5 record with 12 starts in 35 appearances. In 88-1/3 innings of work, the righty recorded 49 strikeouts. In the final game of the Islanders 2008 season in the Southland Conference tournament, Grota had the best outing of his career. He allowed two runs in seven innings of work against a strong Sam Houston team.

"I will always remember Justin for his start against Sam Houston in the conference tournament and I think his teammates will as well," said Malone. "Against one of the most talented teams in the league, he nearly single-handedly helped us reach the final day."