TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (7-26, 2-10 SLC) AT LAMAR (15-23, 6-6 SLC)
THE FIRST PITCH
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team will continue its road swing this weekend when they travel to Beaumont, Texas to take on Lamar in a three-game conference series. The Islanders and Lady Cardinals will meet for the first time in history on Saturday, April 6 for a doubleheader before wrapping the series on Sunday, April 7 at Ford Park.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is coming off a 1-2 outing at Southeastern La. The Islanders dropped the opening game, before shutting out the Lady Lions in the second game of the doubleheader. The team tallied a season-high 13 hits while snapping a 10-game losing streak. Southeastern La. sealed the third game to win the series. The Islanders are 2-11 on the road and will embark on its third Southland Conference road series of the season.
Lamar will host its second conference series of the season and are 6-6 in their first season in the Southland Conference.
The Islanders will head into the weekend with a 7-26 record including a 2-10 record in SLC action, while the Lady Cardinals hold a 15-23 record and are 2-1 at home in conference play.
Head Coach Stephanie Hughes is in her second year with the Islanders and was named the 2013 SLC Preseason All-Conference Coach of the Year by College Sports Madness.
•The Islanders are young with just one senior and 15 on the roster. The squad returns three starters and 11 letterwinners from a team that finished with an 18-23 overall record (11-9 SLC) a year ago.
•Senior Meagan McKinney is powering the Islanders' bats with a .297 batting average. She is second on the team with 27 hits while leading the team with three home runs to go along with a team-high 16 RBI.
•Mickayla Cochran has been consistent as the Islanders' leadoff batter. She is second behind McKinney with a .279 batting average and leads the team with 15 runs and 29 hits.
•The Islanders snapped a 10-game losing streak after clinching a 6-0 victory against Southeastern La. in game two of the series.
• The Islanders tied a season-high six RBI in the victory while Ashley Elicerio picked up her first complete game five-hit shutout.
•McKinney and Zarzabal both posted home runs over the weekend.
•Perez is on a three-game hitting streak while McKinney, Tefft and Laura Phillips are on a two-game hitting streak.
•Junior Constance Brandenburg leads the Islanders in the circle with 88.1 innings pitched and 40 strikeouts. Her 88.1 innings and 40 strikeouts pitched this season have surpassed her recorded innings pitched and strikeouts in her first two seasons. She recorded 54.1 innings and 31 strikeouts her first two years.
•The Islanders are 6-3 when they outhit their opponents.
•Saturday's opening game will mark the first meeting between the two teams in program history.
•Head Coach Stephanie Hughes is in her second season with the Islanders and was named the 2013 SLC Preseason All-Conference Coach of the Year by College Sports Madness.
SCOUTING THE LADY CARDINALS
Lamar heads into Saturday's game with a 15-23 record including a 6-6 record in conference play. The Lady Cardinals are 7-3 at home this season and 2-1 at home in conference play. Lamar has dropped five of its last six games and have dropped its last three out of four conference meetings. Lamar picked up the game one victory over Northwestern State 5-3 before dropping the next two.
The Lady Cardinals have conference victories against Nicholls State (2), Stephen F. Austin (1), Sam Houston State (2) and Northwestern State (1).
Candyce Carter leads Lamar with a .377 batting average and a team-high 43 hits while Jenna Holland is second on the team with a .280 batting average. Tina Schulz (4-8) and Shannon Millman (9-10) both lead the Lady Cardinals in the circle with a 4.47 ERA. Millman leads the way with 81 strikeouts in 128.1 innings.
IN THE CIRCLE
Pitching coach and seven-year NPF veteran Sarah Pauly has a young group of pitchers this season after losing standout pitchers Greta Cecchetti, Jordan Trujillo and Vianca Pesina. Cecchetti was second in the Southland Conference last season with a 0.58 ERA and second in strikeouts with 82.
Junior Constance Brandenburg (4-11) has been the Islanders go to pitcher in the circle this season with a 4.52 ERA in 88.1 innings. Brandenburg has tallied a team-high 40 strikeouts in 23 appearances. The junior recorded a career-high nine strikeouts in a complete game strikeout, while allowing just one walk and four hits over Kansas.
Ashley Elicerio (2-12) holds a 4.97 ERA in 81.2 innings and 20 appearances. Elicerio also has seen action at the plate and has tallied a .231 batting average in six games and has tallied three hits. She clinched her first career victory in the Islanders 7-3 victory over Southern. Elicerio recorded a career-high six strikeouts in seven innings and allowed just two hits. She improved her career-high with seven strikeouts in six innings at McNeese State.
Sophomore Bethany Slick (1-3) rounds out the pitchers with a 5.69 ERA in 32 innings and 13 appearances. She picked up her first career victory in the circle against Northern Colorado in her first career start.
Leadoff hitter Mickayla Cochran has been consistent for the Islanders this season. The sophomore is second on the team with a .279 batting average in all 33 starts. She has a team-high 29 hits and has recorded five doubles to go along with two home runs. Cochran also has a team-high 15 runs and has posted 39 putouts in center field. Cochran went 3-for-4 with three hits and two RBI in a 6-4 victory over Northern Colorado in the Miken Classic in Waco, Texas. She opened the CenturyLink Classic going 2-for-3 in back-to-back games against North Texas and Purdue. Cochran went 2-for-4 in the conference opener vs. HBU.
Ashley Elicerio is a 5-7 pitcher and utility player. She played four years at Hendrickson High School and was tabbed Utility Player of the Year three consecutive years. This season, she had a career day with seven strikeouts in six innings in the second game against McNeese State. She followed that performance with six strikeouts against Northwestern State in game one. She picked up her first conference victory of the season at Southeastern La. with her first complete game five-hit shutout.
Natalie Zarzabal, a right-handed outfielder, played at Steele High School in Cibolo, Texas. This season, Zarzabal tallied her first career home run against Northern Colorado in the Islanders 6-4 victory and recorded her second homer in a 6-0 victory at Southeastern La.
Dani Tefft was a four-year starter at Kempner High School in Sugar Land, Texas. The left-hander led the team with a .434 batting average while helping her team win the 2011 Bi-District Championship and the 2011 District 23-5A Championship. This season, Tefft recorded two hits and two runs in five starts in left field at the Texas Classic. The freshman went 2-for-3 against HBU in game two of the doubleheader. She is second on the team with four sacrifice hits.
Sorenson has 84 putouts behind home plate this season and has caught 13 stolen bases. She posted a .358 batting average while appearing in 43 of 51 games during the 2010-11 season at McLennan CC.
SWING BATTER BATTER
The Islanders are 6-3 when they out-hit their opponents and 6-4 when they score first. The Islanders are also 3-0 when it's a 1-run game. The Islanders tallied a season-high 13 hits in the victory over Southeastern La.
Co-captain junior Valerie Perez has been the vocal leader for the team this season along with McKinney. Perez has tallied 20 hits and four doubles this season in 29 games. She has also recorded 47 putouts at shortstop this season. The Islanders have won seven games when Perez has been in the starting lineup and 0-6 when the junior hasn't started or been in the game.
Sophomore Hayley Galloway has battled back from off-season surgery to record a .250 batting average. She has made starts in 31 of the Islanders 33 games and has a team-high six sacrifice hits. Galloway has 21 hits and 59 putouts between second base and shortstop this season.
Following Sunday's game the Islanders will return home to host Sam Houston State in a three-game series on April 13-14 at Chapman Field.