CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team will return to action Thursday after getting its first midweek off, as the Islanders travel to Northwestern State for a three-game series to complete a six-game road trip.
A&M – Corpus Christi (19-19, 9-6 Southland) is coming off a series where it tallied 49 hits against Houston Baptist to take two of the three games against the Huskies. The knocks also gave the Islanders 372 hits this season to move them into 25th in the nation and first in the conference in that category.
The team is also among the top in the nation in stolen bases, as it ranks 24th and is tied for first in the category. Jordan Lee paces the way for the Islanders in swiped bases, as he has 16 this season, which is the best mark in the Southland and is the 26th most in the country.
Northwestern State (22-14, 10-5) has been off to a hot conference start, as the Demons are currently tied for first among the league and have most recently won nine of their last 11 games. In its nine wins, Northwestern State has relied heavily on its pitching, allowing an average of less than two runs per game.
Leading Northwestern State on the bump in the rotation is Adam Oller (4-0, 2.03 ERA), who will be on the mound in game one at 6:30 p.m. for the Demons. The freshman leads the Southland in innings pitched during conference play with 38.2, while also boasting the lowest ERA among the Northwestern State pitching staff.
His brother, Josh Oller (2-0, 3.00), will get the nod in game two at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, as he also features solid numbers on the season, including the second lowest batting average against during league play at .190.
The lone lefty in the rotation for the Demons will be Austin Tanner (1-1, 2.14) pitching Sunday at 2 p.m. His last time out, the freshman had the best outing of his career, as he threw nine shutout innings, giving up eight hits to help Northwestern State to the victory against McNeese State to clinch the victory.
Starting the series for the Islanders will be their workhorse, Matt Danton (5-2, 3.19), who has thrown six more innings than anyone else on the team, and currently ranks fourth in the Southland with 62 innings thrown.
Southpaw Trevor Belicek will follow (1-5, 4.64) in Saturday's action, before the Sunday meeting will feature an all-freshman pairing on the mound, as the Islanders will throw Devin Skapura (4-2, 3.10).
The righty now features the second lowest ERA on the staff after he had the best start of his career, as he allowed one run over eight innings to help secure the series for A&M – Corpus Christi against HBU.
Leading the Islanders at the plate is Brandon Tierney, as he is currently riding a nine-game hit streak, which is the longest by any Islander this season. During that stretch, he has seen his average move up to .331 to go along with 18 RBIs.
Frankie Salas has also been on a tear at the dish, moving his batting average all the way up to a team-leading .364. Kyle Danford is still first on the team with runs driven in at 22, while Cody Stephens and Tyler Ware are right behind him at 21.
Chase Daughdrill and Bret Underwood are the only two players for Northwestern State hitting above a .300 clip, as they are hitting .310 and .309, respectively. Daughdrill also leads the team in RBIs (31) and on-base percentage (.419), while Underwood is the Demons' speed threat, tallying 13 swiped bags this year on 14 attempts.
Live audio will be available on GoIslanders.com, with live stats and video on NSUdemons.com.
To keep up with the action, fans can also follow the team on Twitter and Instagram (@IslandersBSB) and like it on Facebook (Islanders Baseball).