February 23, 2011

Softball set to host Holiday Inn Emerald Beach Islanders Classic

The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team will host its second home tournament of the year beginning Thursday when they start play in the Holiday Inn Emerald Beach Islanders Classic against Texas Southern at Chapman Field. The game is set to start at 12 p.m. with a game between Rutgers and Arkansas, the other two members of the field, scheduled for a 3 p.m. start following the opening game.

The Islanders sit at 5-5 on the season following last weekend's appearance at the Hillenbrand Invitational, hosted by No. 2 Arizona. Arkansas is coming off a weekend that featured a win over then-No. 1 UCLA and also sits at 5-5 on the year. They were 2-3 in the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic, capping play off with an 8-4 win in eight innings against Utah.

Rutgers is 0-4 on the season following a pair of losses to Loyola Marymount and a single loss to both UC Riverside and Minnesota last weekend. Texas Southern is now 4-6 on the year after a pair of wins over Our Lady of the Lake on Tuesday.

"This will be a nice weekend for us with teams from the Big East and SEC coming in and Texas Southern has been strong the last couple of years," said head coach Jake Schumann. "We're looking at it as a good warm-up for conference play on Tuesday.

"We are still evaluating some of our kids and looking at what lineups we are going to have just to be ready for Tuesday."

For the Islanders, Lauren Dodson and Brittany Tucker are the team leaders offensively, with each having 12 RBI on the year while Dodson is hitting .346 and Tucker sits at .278 and slugging .667 on the season. Behind the plate, Tucker had excelled, picking up where she left off last year and allowing just two stolen bases while throwing out seven runners attempting to steal.

After a strong first weekend and a second weekend that saw the pitching staff struggle, Schumann is hoping to get his team back on track both offensively and in the circle.

"We have to refine our pitches, hit our corners and not throw the ball down the middle in what we call the "No Zone"," said Schumann. "We hit the "No Zone" a lot this last weekend and Arizona reminded us of it.

"We have to get back to work, work on the basics, do what we do well and we will hopefully rebound this weekend."

The head coach of the Islanders program has faith in his team to overcome the slow start and get back to being successful on the field.

"We'll get there, I think once we stop fighting making adjustments mid-game we will get better," said Schumann. "We are a veteran team, once we get back to what we need to be doing in the game, we will be alright."

Live stats and video will be available for all games in the tournament while Mike Vamosi will call all of the Islanders games during the weekend, only on www.GoIslanders.com.