TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (5-11, 1-1 SLC) AT NORTHWESTERN STATE (10-14, 0-0 SLC)
Friday, March 16 • 6 p.m. CST
Saturday, March 17 • 12 p.m. CST
Lady Demon Diamond Complex • Natchitoches, La.
CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team will hit the road for a two-game series against Northwestern State on Friday and Saturday. The Islanders are set to travel to Natchitoches, La. for their first conference road trip of the season.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi split their opening conference games last Wednesday at home against UTSA. The Islanders dropped the first game 6-1, before bouncing back to garner a 2-1 victory.
The Islanders were scheduled to play Texas State at home last weekend before facing the Lady Demons on the road, but because of rain in the area the Islanders were forced to reschedule.
Friday's game will mark the 17th meeting between the Islanders and Lady Demons, with the Islanders holding a 12-4 advantage.
LAST TIME OUT
Texas A&M - Corpus dropped its first Southland Conference game last Wednesday against UTSA, 6-1, before bouncing back to take a 2-1 decision over the Roadrunners at Chapman Field.
In the first game, the Roadrunners and Islanders stayed scoreless through five innings before UTSA posted four runs in the top of the sixth and two in the seventh. The Islanders tallied three costly errors in the two innings combined and the Roadrunners capitalized on seven total hits to seal their first conference victory of the season.
UTSA jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second before a two-run fifth inning by the Islanders lifted them to a 2-1 victory over the Roadrunners in the second game to even the series at 1-1. The Islanders tallied seven hits to the Roadrunners five behind Vianca Pesina's solid seven innings in the circle.
SCOUTING THE LADY DEMONS
Friday's game will mark the 17th meeting between the two schools with the Islanders holding a 12-4 advantage. The Islanders have garnered the last 11 out of 12 meetings, including a 5-1 victory in the Southland Conference tournament a year ago.
The Lady Demons enter their first conference game of the season on Friday with a 10-14 record. Northwestern State sits at 3-1 at home.
The Lady Demons are led by Cassandra Barefield's .354 batting average and a team high 14 RBIs. Tara McKenney is second on the team with a .351 batting average and is leading the Lady Demons with 27 hits with a team best 77 at-bats. In the circle, the Lady Demons are powered by Brooke Boening. In 11 appearances she has tallied a 2-1 record with a 3.35 ERA. She has a total of 31 strikeouts in 31.1 innings pitched. Kelee Grimes is second with 3.36 ERA in 58.1 innings and leads the team with 86 strikeouts.
Senior Hannah Schwarz is currently on a nine-game hitting streak, the longest of the season. Freshman Mickayla Heller is currently riding on a three-game hitting streak, while Cassie Redman is on a two-game hitting streak.
SWING BATTER SWING
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is 5-1 when they out-hit their opponents and 0-8 when their opponent tallies more hits than them. The Islanders are also more successful when they tally between six and nine runs (3-1).
Laura Phillips, Hannah Schwarz and Mickayla Heller are all hitting above .300 for the Islanders. Phillips is hitting .464 to lead the offense with a .500 slugging percentage and .610 on base percentage. The sophomore leads the team with 13 total hits and co-leads the Islanders with Meagan McKinney with seven RBIs. Schwarz has registered 10 hits in 10 games. In the Islanders victory over UTSA, Schwarz's RBI sacrifice bunt jumpstarted the Islanders offense and broke the game open at 1-1. Heller has become a force on the Islanders offense and defense. The freshman is hitting .314 in 14 games. She has tallied 11 hits and is second on the team with 66 putouts.
Cassie Redman led the Islanders' offense last week against UTSA. She powered the Islanders with two hits at four at-bats in a 6-1 loss to UTSA. In the second game against the Roadrunners, Redman helped the Islanders earn their first conference victory of the season, 2-1, with the Islanders go-ahead run. Through the two games, Redman tallied three hits and one run at eight at-bats while batting .375. She also registered two stolen bases with a .375 on base percentage.
Meagan McKinney powered the Islanders offense at the Ragin' Cajuns Invitational in the Islanders last road trip. Over the three-day event, the junior tallied a total of six hits at 14 at-bats. McKinney registered three hits and two home runs, while tallying four RBIs in a victory over Nicholls State. She also scored five times and chipped in a team-best six RBIs in five starts.
Cassie Carroll is fourth on the team behind Heller with a .267 batting average. Carroll is second on the team with 12 hits and has tallied two doubles, six RBIs and five runs while registering one of the Islanders' five home runs of the season. Karissa Haleman has also chipped in, registering four hits, two doubles and three runs in 15 at-bats.
IN THE CIRCLE
Vianca Pesina leads the Islanders in the circle with a 5.95 ERA in nine appearances. Pesina clinched her first victory of the season in the circle in the Islanders second game against UTSA. She has a 1-4 record in 42.1 innings pitched and has shut down 21 total batters.
Greta Cecchetti (1-3) is second in the circle with an ERA of 6.75 in five appearances and 18.2 innings pitched. She has allowed 19 hits and 15 runs while striking out 24. She picked up her first victory of the season against Nicholls State. She posted a career-high 10 strikeouts in six innings, while limiting Nicholls State to just three hits and one run.
Jordan Trujillo dropped her first conference loss of the season in the first game against UTSA. She holds a 3-3 record with a 6.81 ERA in 35.2 innings pitched. She leads the Islanders in the circle with 35 strikeouts.
Joining Cecchetti, Pesina and Trujillo in the circle are Constance Brandenburg (0-1) and freshman Bethany Slick (0-0). Brandenburg has a 4.50 ERA in three appearances and Slick has appeared in one game.
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 to finish 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.
After Saturday's game the Islanders will return home to host Texas State in a doubleheader on Monday, March 19 at 1 p.m.