Baseball Sets for Texas Tech InvitationalTEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (10-5) AT TEXAS TECH INVITATIONAL
Dan Law Field (5,050) • Lubbock, Texas
LIVE AUDIO/STATS: TexasTech.com
Saturday, March 12 • Noon
ISLANDERS: LHP Todd Simko (1-2, 3.24) | TEXAS TECH: RHP Jamen Parten (1-1, 3.14)
Sunday, March 13 • Noon
ISLANDERS: RHP Justin Meza (2-1, 4.58) | IOWA: LHP Matt Dermody (0-2, 3.52)
Sunday, March 13 • 4 p.m.
ISLANDERS: RHP Ian Campbell (2-1, 2.78) | TTU: LHP Robbie Kilcrease (2-0, 4.76)
Monday, March 14 • Noon
ISLANDERS: RHP Brett Carnline (1-1, 6.35) | IOWA: TBA
Tuesday, March 15 • 1 p.m.
ISLANDERS: TBA | TTU: TBA
THE FIRST PITCH
After sweeping a doubleheader from Texas - Pan American on Tuesday, the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi baseball team heads out for its spring break trip this weekend, beginning their travels at the Texas Tech Invitational. The Islanders will play five games in Lubbock - three vs. host Texas Tech and two against Big Ten foe Iowa - before continuing on to Thibodaux, La., for a three-game series at Nicholls. In total, the Islanders will play eight games in a nine-day span.
The Islanders offense has cooled slightly over the last few games, but three regulars (Jacob Perales, Matt Holland and Trey Hernandez) all have averages over .350 and the team is hitting .284 as a unit. The offense is averaging 6.3 runs per game at this juncture. The pitching staff has had several solid performances, particularly from its starting cast. Three of the four regular starters have an ERA south of 4.60, with Todd Simko (3.24) and Ian Campbell (2.78) leading the way.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
The Islanders are 2-11 against Texas Tech, with a 2-5 mark under Scott Malone. Tech took both matchups last year, 9-5 and 10-9. This is the first meeting between the Islanders and Hawkeyes.
SCOUTING THE FIELD
Texas Tech comes into this weekend's action with an 8-5 record on the season. The Red Raiders started 8-1 before losing the last four - one to UNLV and the remaining three to No. 8 TCU. Tech has played all 13 games at home this year.
The Red Raiders have hit .301 for the season, but are slugging .404 with just four homers so far. Texas Tech has scored 86 runs in its 13 games as six regulars are batting .318 or better. Barrett Barnes leads the squad with two home runs. On the mound, Tech has a 4.15 ERA as a team, with seven relievers holding an ERA under 3.00.
Iowa enters the weekend at 4-5 overall but coming off an impressive weekend. After a loss to Georgia State, the Hawkeyes picked up two wins over Mississippi State and one over GSU to finish the Mississippi State Tournament with a 3-1 overall record.
Iowa has a strong pitching staff, led by stalwarts Nick Brown and Jarred Hippen, while Matt Dermody has posted formidable numbers in the early going as well. Offensively has been where the Hawkeyes have struggled this season, with an aggregate .241 average and no home runs on the year. Trevor Willis has been the offensive star so far with his .417 average, four steals and two triples.
While the Islanders have not faced either team this year, they are familiar with the conferences. They are 0-1 against the Big Ten with a loss to Indiana, but 1-0 against the Big 12 with a win over No. 6 Texas.
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 did not hit a home run, he did drill four doubles over last week's four contests for the Islanders. He was named to CollegeBaseball 360's Weekly Honor Roll for his efforts.
Against Houston Baptist, the righty slugger hit his first longball of the season, drilling a ball over the wall in left. The homer was the righty's 40th career bomb, adding to his school record. He added a three-run homer, his 41st, and a two-run double in the second game against Texas State for a five-RBI game.
Hernandez is also the school's all-time leader in RBI (167) 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. He also tossed an inning in the doubleheader sweep of HBU and finished off the second game against UTPA on Tuesday for save number four.
With his four saves, he has already moved into a tie for fifth on the Islanders' all-time single-season list. Trey Maldonado is the season record holder with seven saves in 2007. Current teammate Philip Garcia led the team with two saves in 2010, while Trey Hernandez had four in 2009.