Islanders Baseball Brings Win Streak to UTSATEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (20-8, 6-3) AT UTSA (8-18, 1-8 SOUTHLAND)
Roadrunner Field (800) • San Antonio, Texas
LIVE AUDIO/STATS: GoIslanders.com
Friday, April 1 • 6 p.m.
ISLANDERS: LHP Todd Simko (5-2, 4.50) | UTSA: LHP Casey Selsor (0-3, 4.73)
Saturday, April 2 • 2 p.m.
ISLANDERS: RHP Ian Campbell (4-1, 2.93) | UTSA: RHP Taylor Walton (3-3, 4.50)
Sunday, April 3 • 1 p.m.
ISLANDERS: RHP Justin Meza (2-1, 4.17) | UTSA: RHP Blake Denman (0-2, 3.38)
THE FIRST PITCH
Winners of eight straight, the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi baseball team returns to conference play for a three-game set at UTSA this weekend. The Islanders are off to the best start in school history at 20-8, and their eight-game win streak is the longest since a nine gamer to start the 2007 season. It is also the longest active winning streak in the nation. The Islanders have swept back-to-back conference series, at Nicholls and vs. McNeese State.
UTSA enters this weekend 8-18 and 1-8 in conference action, but is coming off its biggest win of the season with a 4-2 win over No. 19 Baylor on Tuesday. UTSA opened conference play getting swept by Southeastern Louisiana, then went 1-5 in road series at UT Arlington and Sam Houston State.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
Historically, the Islanders have played even vs. UTSA, posting a 10-12 all-time record. Last year, the Roadrunners took two of three, but the Islanders won twice in San Antonio in 2009. In 2008, Head Coach Scott Malone's first year, the Islanders went 4-1 against the regular season champs of the Southland, including two wins in the conference tournament.
SCOUTING THE ROADRUNNERS
UTSA has posted solid numbers despite their 8-18 record. On the mound, the Roadrunners have a collective 4.75 ERA, with all three weekend starters holding an ERA of 4.73 or lower. Out of the pen, Matt Locus and Samuel Cordero have been strong, with each holding an ERA of 2.35 or lower. Offensively, Riley Good and Daniel Rockett are both hitting .300 or better for UTSA.
With eight consecutive wins, the Islanders have posted their longest win streak since beginning the 2007 season 9-0. But more impressive is the fact that the Islanders now have the longest active winning streak in all of Division I baseball. Georgia Tech and North Carolina each had long streaks snapped on Tuesday. St. John's and Alabama were also tied with the Islanders, but fell on Tuesday.
With their 20-8 start, the Islanders are off to their best opening in school history. That has led to impressive numbers in the Ratings Percentage Index according to RPI gurus Warren Nolan and Boyd Nation. The Islanders are currently 46th in Boyd's World's RPI calculation and 48th in Nolan's book. The Islanders are also 29th in the Nolan Power Index ratings.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is 3-5 against teams in the top 50 of the RPI, with wins over Texas (41), Oregon State (30) and Texas Tech (35). Only two of the Islanders' defeats has come at the hands of a team outside the top 70, with those to power conference teams Iowa (109th) and Connecticut (131st).
With a three-game sweep of McNeese State, the Islanders have now swept back-to-back conference series for the first time in school history. The six straight conference wins are also a program record. This is the third time that the Islanders have swept two conference series in a single season, doing so in both 2007 and 2008.
With the three-game sweep at Nicholls, the Islanders earned their first conference sweep of the 2011 season and first since 2008, when they posted a road sweep at Stephen F. Austin in April of that season. The Islanders have already won as many road games in conference play as they did a year ago (three) and have nearly doubled their overall road output with nine wins (five in 2010).
NINTH INNING MAGIC
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi has shown a flair for the dramatic lately, and the ninth inning has become a scoring frame for the Islanders. In their last four ninth innings (did not play the ninth in four of the last five games) the Islanders have posted 16 runs, despite the fact that they had tallied just eight in the ninth in the prior 20 games.
On Sunday, the Islanders posted one of the wildest comebacks in school history. Starter Dustin Lloyd had been a master of control all game, but one hit and three hit batsmen tied the score at 3-3. The game ended on a wild pitch, as Dan Sciantarelli scampered home for the win.
The Islanders wound up with a series sweep at Nicholls, but the results could have been far different if it hadn't been for some ninth-inning heroics by the team's bats. Down 4-3 on Friday at Nicholls, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi scored four in the top of the ninth to register the win. Then, in a lopsided game, the Islanders added four more on Saturday. On Sunday, with the score knotted 2-2, the Islanders put a six-spot on the board to lift them to an 8-3 victory.