March 19, 2010

ISLANDER BASEBALL RETURNS TO SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE ACTION AT CHAPMAN

After a weekend hiatus to compete in the Whataburger College Classic last weekend, the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi baseball team opens the home portion of its 2010 Southland Conference schedule as Nicholls visits Chapman Field series for a three-game series beginning Friday.

The first two games of the series will begin at 2 p.m., while the start time for Sunday's game has been moved to noon in order to accommodate the Islander women's second round game in the WBI which is to start at 4 p.m.

The Islanders enter the weekend 8-8 and are 1-2 in the Southland. Nicholls is 11-5 overall and won its conference-opening series with Lamar a week ago 2-1.

"Nicholls has been really impressive early on," said Islander head coach Scott Malone. "They may be the most improved team in the league this season through the early part of the season."

Entering the series, the Islanders will be looking to gain some momentum and improve on recent performances.

"We need make sure we do everything better," said the Islander skipper. "We need to pitch better and more consistently. We have to defend better, stop the bunting game and slow the other team's running game, and be more offensive. While Nicholls is playing well, we need to worry about us and make sure we are doing what we can to become a better team."

The Islanders won the first six meetings between the sides in Southland Conference play, but last season the Colonels snapped the streak sweeping the series at home in Thibodaux, La. The Islanders were held to seven runs with just four earned, while the Colonels hit .340.

Entering this weekend, Weston Montgomery has been hot for the Islanders entering with a 13-game hitting streak. The sophomore's average is now an even .400 which is second on the team and in third in the Southland Conference. Montgomery is tied for the league lead with 26 hits.

Chris Vergne leads not only the Islanders but the Southland with a sizzling .434 average. He is tied for third in the SLC with 19 runs scored and is seventh with a .492 on-base percentage. Trey Hernandez is first in the conference with 26 runs batted in and tied for the lead with six home runs. Bobby Buckner is tops with three triples.

The Islanders are currently second in the SLC with a .315 average. Including Vergne and Montgomery, five other players are hitting over .300 - Omar Garcia (.375), Marc Damon (.333), Cory Ege (.314), Hernandez (.310), and Buckner (.305).

On the mound, the Islanders' Chris Pena leads the SLC in appearances with 10.

The Colonels are hitting .297 as a team led by Adam Miley. Miley leads the team with a .356 average, four home runs, and 18 RBI. Blake Bergeron is second with a .344 average and shares the team lead for runs scored with Miley. Two other regulars - Chase Jaramillo (.338) and Kasey Culverson (.306) - average .300 at the plate.

The Colonels have displayed tremendous improvement on the mound. They enter with a staff ERA of 4.04 which is third in the league. Nicholls staff is holding opposing hitters to a league-best .233 average. Led by Cullen Babin (1.62) and Ryan Cooper (3.00) who are amongst the league leaders, four Colonels with at least 16-2/3 innings pitched have an ERA under four.

All three games will be carried on www.goislanders.com with live audio, video and stats available.