Corpus Christi, TX • Chapman Field (500)
LIVE VIDEO/STATISTICS: GoIslanders.com
Friday, April 15 • 2 p.m.
ISLANDERS: RHP Ian Campbell (5-2, 2.81) | SFA: RHP Jared West (5-1, 2.97)
Saturday, April 16 • 2 p.m.
ISLANDERS: RHP Justin Meza (2-2, 4.50) | SFA: LHP Tyler Herriage (1-4, 5.10)
Sunday, April 17 • 1 p.m.
ISLANDERS: TBA | SFA: RHP Zack Taylor (3-2, 2.84)
THE FIRST PITCH
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi baseball team will play host to Stephen F. Austin in the first full conference series at Chapman Field this season. The Islanders come in at 22-15 overall and 7-8 in Southland play, while the Jacks are 22-11 overall and are just a game back of first-place Texas State at 10-5 in conference. Each team lost two of three games last weekend, while SFA is coming off a midweek win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
The Islanders are 9-8 all-time against the Lumberjacks, including a 4-4 mark in Corpus Christi. The Islanders are also 4-4 against the Jacks on the road in addition to a neutral-site win in 2008. Last season, SFA took two of three from the Islanders in Nacogdoches.
SCOUTING THE LUMBERJACKS
Since opening the season 16-5, Stephen F. Austin has slowed slightly, going 6-6 over its last 12 games. The Lumberjacks opened conference play 8-1, sweeping Central Arkansas and Northwestern State, then taking two of three from Nicholls. Since then, they have lost series at Texas State and at home against UTSA to sit at 10-5 in conference play.
SFA has been impressive on the mound, posting a 3.06 team ERA, including a bullpen that has nine hurlers with an ERA of 3.00 or lower. On the offensive side, Bryson Myles has been one of the top players in the league with his .422 average and 29 steals. The Jacks have a .291 team average and have slugged 15 homers on the year.
SPEAK SOFTLY, AND CARRY A BIG STICK
Teddy Roosevelt wasn't speaking of senior Matt Holland when he uttered that, but there may be no phrase that applies better for the Watkins, Iowa, native. Holland, who is in the Southland's top 10 in doubles, triples and home runs on the year, is a very measured individual. And though he is an important leader for the Islanders, he does so by example.
He leads the team with his 15 multi-hit games and 13 contests with more than one RBI. With 13 two-baggers, he is just seven shy of the season record.
At UTSA, the lefty rocked his third and fourth homers of the year, the latter a mammoth shot that cleared the batter's eye in center, 405 feet from the plate. He had three hits, a run and an RBI in the opener with Lamar and a clutch two-run double at Houston-Victoria to give him 33 RBI on the season.
But his performance against Texas Tech on March 12 was by far his most impressive of the season. The senior went 4-for- 6 and hit for the Islanders' first cycle of the season and the first since Jacob Perales turned the trick against UTPA last year. Needing a longball to complete the trick with two down in the ninth and the bases loaded, Holland ripped a 2-0 pitch over the wall in right for a grand slam to finish off the cycle.
Coming into 2011, senior Ian Campbell's role on the team was expected to provide depth to the staff. But his performance as of late has earned him a spot as the Friday starter last weekend.
Campbell showed his worthiness for that selection, as he tossed a four-hit shutout at Lamar on Friday. It was the first complete-game shutout for the Islanders since Roy Ferdin had one in 2008. He did not allow a runner past second base until the ninth inning, and finished off the affair by getting Ted Zentek to go down swinging.
In 11 appearances, including eight starts, Campbell is 5-2 with a staff-leading 2.81 ERA. The senior, who throws four pitches for strikes, has allowed less than one hit per inning and has 46 strikeouts in 57 2/3.
The soft-spoken Glendale, Ariz., native played two years at Yavapai Junior College before transfering to the Island University prior to the 2010 season. He went 3-5 with an 8.17 ERA in 2010 for the Islanders.
Alvin Community College transfer Michael Boyle had saves in his first two career appearances, and with 19 games to go on the year, he has already anointed himself as the Islanders' single-season and career record holder with seven saves.
On Saturday, Feb. 19, against MVSU, the Houston native closed out both of the Islanders' wins in the doubleheader, earning his first two career saves.
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 has since posted four more saves, including two in conference action.
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 367games. The Moody High alum is second on the team with a .362 average and is among the team leaders with three homers and 33 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.