The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi softball team will play its first-ever game in the Southland Conference Tournament on Thursday against the McNeese State Cowgirls. Game time is set for 11 AM at Bobcat Field on the campus of Texas State.
After finishing up the regular season with a 35-20 record overall and a 16-14 mark in the league, the Islanders will face a familiar opponent in the Cowgirls as the two teams have played five times this season, the most of any Islander opponent. A&M-Corpus Christi has won 4-of-5 games against McNeese and will look to continue the trend in their first-ever game in Southland postseason play.
In the five games this season, the Islanders have won a pair of 2-1 games, an 11-2 game, a 10-2 game and lost a 5-4 game in the bottom of the seventh inning. The first two games between the teams were played in Honolulu, Hawaii at the Hawaii Paradise Classic and the regular-season series was played in Lake Charles, La. on the home field of McNeese.
Leading the Islanders into the tournament will be Hannah Schwarz and Caley Jeter, the top two hitters on the team that were named as First Team All-Southland members this week. Schwarz led the Southland with a .416 batting average while Jeter was tops in on-base percentage with a .527 mark. In addition to being named to the first team, Schwarz was also named the Southland Newcomer of the Year.
Brittany Tucker and Margo Hurdt tied for the team lead in RBI with 38 on the season as Hurdt had a home run in the final game of the year while Tucker hit a pair, including the game-tying and game-winning shots with the season hanging in the balance. Her two home runs set a new school single-season record with 11 while Hurdt finished with nine during the regular season.
With Tucker's heroics last weekend against the Southeastern Louisiana Lady Lions, the Islanders qualified for the tournament as the No. 5 seed. The weekend sweep gave the Islanders a 16-14 conference record, their highest Southland win total in school history. The Cowgirls finished one game ahead of the Islanders with a 17-13 record in the league. The 35 overall wins was the top total in the league with McNeese finishing right behind with 34 wins. No other teams in the league reached the 30-win mark.
The Cowgirls are led by Molly Guidry with a .363 batting average while Liz Morvant is second on the team with a .333 average. Morvant was 32-for-34 this year in stolen bases with Brittany Tucker being one of only two catchers to throw her out on the base paths this season. Morvant also led the team with 34 RBI on the year while Guidry was tops in home runs with seven along with Marissa Koetting.
The winner of the game will go on to face No. 1 seed Stephen F. Austin at 4 PM on Thursday afternoon while the lose will play on Friday at 1:30 PM against the loser of the final game on Thursday night.
Live stats and audio for all tournament games will be available by visiting www.GoIslanders.com.