Tuesday, April 6 • 6 p.m.
Whataburger Field (7400) • Corpus Christi, Texas
LIVE VIDEO/STATS: GoIslanders.com
ISLANDERS: LHP Todd Simko (5-3, 5.53) | UT: LHP Sam Stafford (3-0, 1.78)
THE FIRST PITCH
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi baseball team will look to recapture the magic of Feb. 22, as the Islanders look for a season sweep of the Longhorns on Tuesday night at Whataburger Field. The Islanders knocked off Texas in the fourth game of the season, 8-7, as Jumpy Garcia drove in four runs to lead the Islanders. Despite a three-game losing streak, at 20-11 the Islanders are off to the best 31-game start in program history.
Texas comes into the affair at 21-7 and on a four-game win streak after sweeping Missouri over the weekend in Austin. The Longhorns have won 17 of their last 21 and have a 7-2 mark in the ultra-competitive Big 12.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
The Islanders' win on Feb. 22 was just the second all-time in series history, joining a 5-0 win over the defending national champions on Feb. 5, 2003. Texas has won the other 14 meetings, including a 10-6 victory by the Longhorns on March 6, 2007, the only other contest between the teams at Whataburger Field. That game saw a crowd of 7,002 at the facility - the largest in Islanders history.
SCOUTING THE LONGHORNS
Texas has been phenomenal on the mound, posting an amazing 2.41 team ERA. All four of the Longhorns' regular starters have an ERA of 3.27 or below, including tonight's projected starter Sam Stafford, and the team has allowed its opponents to hit just .205 on the season.
Offensively, though, Texas has struggled somewhat at the plate. The Horns are hitting just .254 as a team, though Erich Weiss' .356 average leads the team. Brandon Loy is the lone other regular for Texas who is hitting over .300, and the team is averaging just over five runs per game.
UT VS. THE SOUTHLAND
Though the Islanders are the only Southland team that has defeated the Longhorns, two othe SLC foes have taken them on, and every contest so far has been a close one with the Longhorns. UTSA took the Horns to 11 innings before falling 8-5 and Texas State was topped 3-1 by Texas. The Bobcats have one more game against the Longhorns this season.
Senior first baseman Trey Hernandez has gotten off to a hot start at the plate in 2011, and with two homers over the weekend, he now has 47 for his career, the all-time leader for the Islanders.
The senior had just three hits against UTSA, but two were homers. The prior week, he went 7-for-14 with three home runs, nine RBI, six runs and two doubles in four games. He slugged 1.286 over the quartet of contests to earn Southland Conference Hitter of the Week honors.
Hernandez is in the top 10 of almost every offensive category in the conference, including slugging (.705, 1st), home runs (8, 2nd), RBI (34, 4th), runs (33, 3rd), walks (27, 2nd), doubles (11, 3rd) and on-base percentage (.478, 6th).
Hernandez is also the school's all-time leader in RBI (186) and will look to make a run at 50 homers and 200 driven in during his senior campaign. The Robstown native was a Freshman All-American in 2008 and has earned Southland Player of the Week honors three times in his career.
THE RIGHTY STICK
Somewhat overshadowed by Matt Holland, Trey Hernandez and Week 1 Southland Conference Hitter of the Week Chris Vergne, righty Jacob Perales has been one of the team's best hitters in the first 31 games. The Moody High alum leads the team with a .382 average and is among the team leaders with three homers and 31 RBI.
Perales' performance at Nicholls and the Texas Tech Invitational earned him SLC honorable mention. The senior hit .429 with 11 RBI in five games, including eight RBI in the series at Nicholls. His best game of the season saw him go 3-for-5 with five RBI to lead the Islanders in Saturday's 12-1 rout. The Corpus Christi native now has 19 career home runs to place him sixth in Islanders lore.
NOTT IS HOT
Freshman Logan Nottebrok came into his debut season with plenty of potential, a professional body and an impressive arm on the left side of the infield. But as of late, he has really rallied to fulfill that potential.
The San Antonio native reveled in his return to his hometown over the weekend, going 6-for-10 in the series at UTSA with three runs and his first career homer, a line shot to left center on Friday.
The weekend performance just was the latest in an 18-game stretch that has seen several Islanders catch fire. Nottebrok has gone 13-for-34 (.382 average) and scored six runs over the last 18 games. He also has posted 22 chances without an error.