No. 9/10 Baylor (4-1, 0-0 BIG 12) AT TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (1-4, 0-0 SLC)
CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team will begin their home schedule this weekend in a three-game series against No. 9/10 ranked Baylor at Chapman Field. The Islanders will face the Lady Bears in a doubleheader on Saturday before playing a single game on Sunday. The Islanders open play at Chapman Field with a 1-4 record after falling 0-2 on the road including 1-2 in neutral games.
The Islanders started the season 1-3 after competing in the Hilton Houston Plaza Classic and then followed it with a tough 6-5 loss in Austin to then No. 13/19 Texas.
The Islanders are coming off an impressive 41-19 season a year ago including clinching the Southland Conference regular-season championship. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi returns eight players and four starters from the 2011 team that finished with a stellar 21-9 Southland Conference record.
Coach Hughes earned her first victory in Houston when the Islanders won a 7-5 come-from-behind victory over North Texas in the Hilton Houston Plaza Classic. The first-year head coach became the Islanders fifth head coach in program history when she was hired on August 19, 2011.
LAST TIME OUT
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team came up just short in its upset bid against No. 13 Texas on Wednesday night, falling 6-5 against the Longhorns at Red and Charline McCombs Field.
The Islanders led the game as late as 5 2/3 innings before Texas scored two runs with two outs in the bottom of the sixth to regain the lead.
Things looked bleak early on for Texas A&M - Corpus Christi, with the Longhorns scoring three runs on four hits to take the first lead of the game. The Islanders were able to answer back in the top of the second inning, plating two runs on two hits and two Longhorn errors to cut the deficit to one run.
Mickayla Heller started the rally with a single to lead off the inning, and then advanced to second base on a Sandy Schumann single to the shortstop. Despite getting two on with no outs, a series of plays led to the Islanders being down to their final out of the inning with Schumann on third and Hayley Galloway on second base after reaching on a fielder's choice.
SCOUTING THE LADY BEARS
Saturday's doubleheader will be the 11th and 12th meetings between the two schools with the Lady Bears holding the 8-2 advantage. The Islanders' two victories came in 2002 and 2006. The last time the two played each other was on February 9, 2007. The Lady Bears came out victorious 8-2.
Baylor heads into Saturday's 12 p.m. game with a 4-1 record and will compete in their second away game of the season. The Lady Bears' only loss came against Arkansas in the Getterman/QTI Classic where they lost 5-1. Baylor has wins against Iowa, Belmont and Southland Conference foe UT Arlington.
Jordan Strickland leads the Lady Bears offense with a batting average of .500, including a double and a triple on three hits and three runs. Kaitlyn Thumann is second with a .500 batting average. In the circle, the Lady Bears are powered by Whitney Canion, who holds a record of 2-0. In 14 innings of work she has walked three while striking out 32.
The Islanders were picked to finish second in the Southland Conference, after clinching the regular-season title last season. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi was selected behind defending conference champion Texas State. The Islanders received five first-place votes with 87 points while Texas State received four.
Senior Hannah Schwarz, returns as a First Team selection for the second straight year after starting 58 of the Islanders 59 games last season. Senior Vianca Pesina returns as a Second Team selection after going 12-5 in the circle with a 2.26 ERA last season, which was sixth best in the conference.
The Islanders will play a total of 40 regular-season games, including 13 of which will be against teams who competed in the NCAA Championship last season. The Islanders have already competed against three Top 25 teams (Oklahoma St., Houston and Texas) and are scheduled to play against two more this season (No. 20 La. Lafayette and No. 22 Kentucky).
This season the Islanders are 0-4 against teams ranked in the Top 25.
Schwarz led the Islanders offense with a .345 batting average last season. Against Texas the senior tallied two hits and one run. She is currently holding a .273 batting average in three out of the Islanders five games.
Laura Phillips is leading the Islanders offense with a .455 batting average. She has five hits, one run and two RBI's in five games. The sophomore was fifth last year on the team with a batting average of .270. In the Hilton Houston Plaza Classic Phillips tallied four hits, one run and one RBI in eight at bats.
Senior Alejia Cain also has stepped up for the Islanders, posting seven hits and three runs with an average of .389, behind Carroll and Phillips.
After Sunday's game the Islanders will continue their homestand at Chapman Field with the Best Western Marina Grand Islanders Classic. The Islanders are slated to play North Dakota, Ole Miss and Texas Southern over the three-day event.