CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team will play its first and final nonconference series at Chapman Field beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday, as it plays host to Valparaiso.
The Islanders (5-9) are coming off a loss in which the Houston pitching staff shut them down, falling 10-0 in eight innings. Valpo (5-6) is currently on a 15-game road trip to start the season. The Crusaders are coming off splitting against two teams the Islanders faced earlier this year, as they lost 7-1 to Texas before bouncing back to beat Texas State 3-2 in 10 innings on Wednesday.
Back on the mound for A&M – Corpus Christi in game one will be Matt Danton. He comes into the game with a 2.53 ERA in 21.1 innings pitched and is just one of 43 pitchers in the nation to turn in three consecutive quality starts to begin the season.
Working against him in the opener will be Cole Webb (2-1, 3.86 ERA) who has gone 18.2 innings in the three games he has started. He has given up seven walks, while fanning eight to start the year.
Webb will go up an A&M – Corpus Christi lineup that is hitting .252 as a team. Zack Gibson has come on as of late with a six-game hitting streak to push his batting average up to .325, which now leads the team. During the stretch, Gibson has gone 11-of-21 with a pair of RBIs.
Also warming up recently for the Islanders has been Brandon Tierney who has a .324 average with five RBIs. Tierney has reached safely in the last seven games to raise his average by more than 100.
Despite have five home runs and five more RBIs than the Islanders, Valpo has not hit for a high average, batting at just a .225 clip as a team after its first 11 games. Spencer Mahoney has helped keep the average from dipping even lower, batting .357 with four doubles and five RBIs. He is also incredibly patient at the plate, coaxing 12 walks for an on-base percentage of .500.
The main power threat for the Crusaders is Chris Manning who has three of the team's five dingers for a team-high 12 RBIs. He also has two doubles, raising his slugging percentage to .522.
The Islanders will send its lefty out on the mound Saturday, as Trevor Belicek (0-2, 5.87 ERA) will look to pick up his first win of the season. He will face off against Valpo's Mario Losi (0-1, 5.52 ERA) who is also in search of his first victory. First pitch for that game is set for 6:30 p.m. as well.
In the series finale set for 1 p.m. Sunday freshman Devin Skapura will look to keep the strong start to his collegiate career going, as he leads the team with a 2.00 era and a 2-1 record. The Crusaders will send their southpaw to the mound in game three, as Dalton Lundeen (0-1, 6.23 ERA) will return to the bump for Valpo.
To keep up with the Islanders this weekend be sure to follow the team on Twitter and Instagram (@IslandersBSB) and like them on Facebook (Islanders Baseball). You can also find links for live stats and video above.