Islanders Head to Austin for Clash With No. 6 TexasTEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (4-0) AT #6 TEXAS (3-1)
Tuesday, Feb. 22 • 3 p.m.
Disch-Falk Field (6,649) • Austin, Texas
LIVE AUDIO: GoIslanders.com
LIVE VIDEO/STATS: TexasSports.com
ISLANDERS: RHP Justin
Meza (1-0, 0.00)
THE FIRST PITCH
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi baseball team will take on in-state rival Texas in a non-conference contest on Tuesday, Feb. 22, at 3 p.m. in Austin. In the first road game of the season, the Islanders will send Corpus Christi native and Moody High School grad Justin Meza to the hill for his first collegiate start. The local legend was named all-state in 2009.
The Islanders come into the mid-week affair at 4-0 on the young season after a four-game series sweep of Mississippi Valley State over the weekend. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi got strong pitching all weekend long, posting a 2.10 ERA on the four-game set, and saw its offense explode for 12 runs in both the first and fourth games. In games two and three on Saturday, the Islanders got timely hitting, scoring the winning run in their last at-bat in both affairs, and won both games in come-from-behind fashion. Newcomer Michael Boyle was credited with the save in both games of the double dip.
Texas comes into the affair at 3-1 on the year, having taken three of four games from Maryland in Austin last weekend. The Longhorns left no doubt about it in 8-0, 7-4 and 16-0 victories over the Terps, but Maryland showed a crack in the armor of the seventh-ranked Horns in a 10-1 victory in game two of the four-game set.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
The Islanders will be looking for their second victory over Texas in school history on Tuesday. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi knocked off the top-ranked Longhorns in their 2003 season opener, 5-0. Jimmy Hamon surrendered just two hits in six innings in the victory. It was one of just 20 losses for the Longhorns that season, as they finished the season ranked third in the nation. The Islanders are 1-14 all-time against Texas.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi's 4-0 start is the best for the Islanders since opening 9-0 in the 2007 season. The Islanders, who opened that season with series sweeps of Centenary, Texas Southern and Grambling, finished the year with a 27-29 overall record.
5-6-7 TRIPLE PLAY
The Islanders' 5-6-7 hitters had a banner day in Sunday's 12-2 victory over Mississippi Valley State. The trio of Chris Vergne, Jacob Perales and Jumpy Garcia combined to go 9-for-10 with two home runs, all 12 RBI and seven runs scored. They also drew two walks for a .917 on-base percentage and a 1.600 slugging average in the contest.
Alvin Community College transfer Michael Boyle had an exceptional day on Saturday against MVSU. The Houston native closed out both of the Islanders wins in the doubleheader, earning the first two saves of his career. With his two saves, he has already moved into a tie for ninth on the Islanders' all-time single-season list. Current teammate Philip Garcia led the team with two saves in 2010.
WINNING THE CLOSE ONES
Both of Saturday's games were won by the slimmest of margins, and both were of the come-from-behind variety. The Islanders trailed 2-0 and 4-3 in game one, eventually winning 5-4, and trailed 1-0 in game two en route to a 2-1 victory. In both contests, the team scored the winning run in its last at-bat, plating two runs in the bottom of the sixth in the seven-inning game one and scoring once in the bottom of the eighth in game two. Chris Vergne scored the winning tally in both contests.
The Islanders slammed four home runs in the four-game series, and the four bombs were hit by four different players. Interestingly, though, none of the homers were hit by Trey Hernandez, the Islanders' all-time leader in longballs. Matt Holland drilled the first homer of the season, in the series opener, and Jacob Perales hit a three-run shot in the second game. Jumpy Garcia and Chris Vergne were the two Islanders to go deep in the series finale.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi was much maligned for its pitching in 2010, but the results in 2011 have been impressive in the early going. The Islanders had an aggregate 2.10 ERA and held the Delta Devils to a .250 average in the four-game set. Islanders starters were even more impressive, surrendering just 17 hits and four earned runs in 21 1/3 innings of work (1.69 ERA).