May 24, 2011

Islanders to Face UTSA at Southland Tournament

TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (34-22, 19-14) AT SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT

San Marcos, TX • Bobcat Ballpark (1,163)
LIVE AUDIO/STATISTICS: GoIslanders.com
LIVE VIDEO: Southland.org (SLC Now)

Wednesday, May 25 • 9 a.m.
ISLANDERS: RHP Ian Campbell (8-4, 3.36) | UTSA: LHP Casey Selsor (5-5, 2.98)


THE FIRST PITCH
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi baseball team finished off the regular season in style, sweeping Sam Houston State to set a new school record with 34 wins. The Islanders, projected to come in 10th in the preseason, finished 19-14 in Southland play for third place in the conference.

The team swept five of its 11 conference series and won 12 of its last 13 to surge into the postseason. Entering the April 23 game at Southeastern Louisiana, the Islanders were 7-13 and in 11th place with nine straight losses. With 12 wins over the final four-plus weeks, the Islanders surged all the way to third place.

UTSA enters the conference tournament having won four of its last five games overall, including taking two of three from Central Arkansas in the final series of the regular season. The Roadrunners had a late surge of their own, as they sat at 1-8 in conference play when the Islanders visited on April 1. But a three-game sweep sent the Roadrunners surging toward the postseason, as it started a string of seven wins over their next eight conference affairs.

In the series between the two teams, UTSA rallied in each of the three games to turn a tight game into a lopsided affair. In game one, the Roadrunners scored seven times in the bottom of the fifth to break open a 6-3 game. Game two saw a Matthew James grand slam turn a 4-1 game into an 8-1 contest. And in the finale, the home squad overcame an early 8-0 deficit, scoring six times in the bottom of the fourth.

In his start, Ian Campbell tossed a solid outing, allowing five hits and three walks in 5 2/3, as the Roadrunners scored four times. Against the Islanders, Casey Selsor gave up 11 hits and two walks in seven innings, striking out six in a win.

ISLANDERS IN SLC TOURNAMENT
The Islanders have made one appearance in the Southland Tournament in school history, twice knocking off No. 1 seed UTSA in the 2008 postseason, but falling twice to host Sam Houston State to be eliminated from the event. Three of the four games in that tournament were two-run affairs, the only exception a 13-2 loss to the Bearkats in the winner's bracket.

SOUTHLAND HONORS
Three Islanders garnered Southland postseason honors, as outfielder Matt Holland earned first team honors, while fellow senior Trey Hernandez picked up second team recognition at first base. Outfielder Jacob Perales received honorable mention.

Holland is the first player in Islanders history to earn first team laurels from the conference. Hernandez, earning second team honors for the second consecutive season, is just the second player in school history to earn league recognition twice, joining Chase Williams, who picked up third team honors in both 2007 and 2008.

Holland finished the regular season at .401 with 10 homers, 51 RBI and 43 runs. His 19 doubles are just one shy of the school record, while he is just three hits and six total bases away from matching the Islanders mark in those two categories.

Hernandez hit his 50th career home run over the weekend, and finished the regular season of his senior campaign with 11 longballs. His .326 average is third on the team, while he leads the squad with 48 runs and an impressive 39 walks. He has also smashed 12 doubles for a .584 slugging percentage on the season.

Perales finished his career in style, posting a .343 average to place second among Islanders and 10th in the league. The Corpus Christi native upped his average in each of his four seasons with the Islanders, capping it off with 13 doubles in 2011, just outside the league's top 10. The Moody alum's 30 walks and .440 OBP are both second among Islanders.

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 the only player in the Southland's top five in average, doubles, home runs, OBP, slugging percentage and RBI on the year, is a measured individual. And though he is an important leader for the Islanders, he does so by example.

As of late, his performance at the plate has been nothing short of incredible. He has a 13-game hitting streak, his longest of the season, to raise his average to .401, second in the Southland. In his streak, he is hitting an amazing .509 with four doubles, three homers and 13 RBI.

The left fielder is second in the league with his 87 hits and leads the way with 142 total bases. He is on the verge of setting school records in both categories and in doubles as well. For a closer look at where Holland ranks in these categories, turn to page five.

In the series at UT Arlington, he had three hits in every game and was 9-for-13 on the weekend. He had three-hit games in the Friday and Sunday affairs with Northwestern State as well, then had two hits in each of the three games at SHSU, giving him 22 hits over the last nine contests. He has had multiple hits in eight of the last nine games and leads the team with 26 multi-hit games on the season.

The Iowa Southeastern CC transfer originally came to the Islanders as a pitcher, but transformed to a full-time hitter after suffering an elbow injury.

CAMPBELL'S COMPOSURE
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 team's number one starter heading into the SLC Tournament.

Campbell showed his worthiness for that selection over the last two weeks. On Thursday, he registered his second complete game, scattering seven hits without walking a batter. He added six punchouts.

The prior game, the soft-spoken native of Glendale, Ariz., struck out a career-high 10 batters in six innings of work against Northwestern State. He scattered eight hits and just one of the three runs he allowed was earned.

In 17 appearances, including 14 starts, Campbell is 8-4 with a staff-leading 3.36 ERA. The senior, who throws four pitches for strikes, has allowed just 32 walks in 96 1/3 innings of work, and opponents are hitting just .271 off of him.

SWEEP EMOTION
The Islanders' three-game sweep over the weekend at SHSU lifted the team into the top half of the Southland Conference. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi notched its fifth sweep this season, joining the brooms that were brought out against UT Arlington, Central Arkansas, McNeese State and Nicholls. Conversely, though, the Islanders have been on the other end of the stick three times, having been swept by Texas State, Stephen F. Austin and UTSA in 2011.