Tuesday, March 1
Husky Field (1,000) • Houston, Texas
LIVE AUDIO/STATS: HBUHuskies.com
Game 1 • Noon
ISLANDERS: RHP Ian Campbell (0-0, 2.79) | HBU: TBA
ISLANDERS: LHP Roy Ferdin (1-0, 6.75) | HBU: TBA
THE FIRST PITCH
After splitting its four games last week with four nationally-prominent foes, the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi baseball team takes to the road for the second time this season, encountering a doubleheader with Houston Baptist on Tuesday, March 1, at noon. The Islanders now have a 6-2 record on the season after wins last week over former national champions Texas and Oregon State.
Five members of the regular starting nine have a batting average of .364 or higher, but the real story has been the pitching staff. Of pitchers with three innings or more, only Justin Meza and Roy Ferdin have an ERA higher than four, and both have shown flashes of brilliance already this season. Sean Washington and Matt Holland were both named to the Kleberg Bank College Classic All-Tournament Team for their efforts over the weekend.
SCOUTING THE HUSKIES
The Islanders are 2-1 all-time against Houston Baptist, with the three previous games in the series coming in the last three seasons. The Islanders took the contests in 2008 (6-3) and 2009 (10-7) before falling to the Huskies last season (10-5).
HBU has been struggling so far, as it sits at 0-7 after a three-game sweep at the hands of Bryant University over the weekend. The Huskies also lost a game to Sam Houston State and were swept in a three-game set at New Mexico State. HBU has been particularly light at the plate this year, hitting just .207, but the squad has already mashed five homers. The team also has an ERA of 8.69, though that number has been significantly lower in home games this season.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi's 6-2 start is one of the best in school history, particularly considering that the Islanders have faced four teams that were projected to make the NCAA Tournament by College Baseball Daily. The Islanders were recently mentioned by Baseball America's Aaron Fitt in his Three Strikes column as a team flying under the radar.
KNOCKING OFF THE BIG BOYS
The Islanders' win over No. 6 Texas last Tuesday marked the highest ranked opponent that they have beaten since a season-opening victory over the No. 1 Longhorns on Feb. 5, 2003. Last year, the Islanders went 2-3 against ranked foes, winning two of three from Southeastern Louisiana but falling twice to UT.
Senior first baseman Trey Hernandez has gotten out to a hot start at the plate, and his performance last week was worthy of mention. Though the senior has not hit a home run this season, he did drill four doubles over last week's four contests for the Islanders. He was among players up for consideration for national mention by CollegeBaseball 360.
Hernandez is the school's all-time leader in both home runs (39) and RBI (156) and will look to make a run at 50 homers and 200 driven in in his senior campaign. The Robstown native was a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American in 2008 and has earned Southland Player of the Week honors twice in his career.
Alvin Community College transfer Michael Boyle had an exceptional day on Saturday, Feb. 19, against MVSU. The Houston native closed out both of the Islanders wins in the doubleheader, earning the first two saves of his career.
He followed that up with 1 2/3 innings of shutout ball to set up Todd Simko against Texas. In the win over Oregon State, he proved his gutsiest, punching out four in 1 2/3 and stranding the tying run on third. He struck out the side in the ninth to send the crowd of 3,000-plus to its feet in sealing the win.
With his three saves, he has already moved into a tie for fifth on the Islanders' all-time single-season list. Current teammate Philip Garcia led the team with two saves in 2010, while Trey Hernandez had four in 2009.