TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (7-19) AT UTSA (12-17) | ROADRUNNER FIELD | SAN ANTONIO | MARCH 19 • 6 P.M.
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team will take a break from Southland Conference play to face UTSA in a single non-conference game on Wednesday, March 19, at 6 p.m. at Roadrunner Field.
- The Islanders are coming off a 1-2 weekend at Northwestern State in their first Southland Conference road series of the season.
- Wednesday's game will mark the second time the Islanders and Roadrunners will meet up this season.
- A&M - Corpus Christi is hitting .303 as a team, which is good for second place in the Southland and 55th in the nation.
- The Islanders are second in the conference with 211 hits. Seven of those hits have been triples.
- A&M - Corpus Christi leads the league with 303 total bases, with Valerie Perez collecting 49 of them.
- Dani Tefft leads the Islanders' offense with a .364 batting average (7th SLC) and is second on the team with 28 hits (T-6th SLC).
- Mickayla Cochan is tied for 11th place in the nation with a league and team-best three triples on the year.
- The Islanders' seven wins this season have come against Stephen F. Austin (5-2), New Mexico State (5-0), Bryant (9-6), Connecticut (8-0), Central Arkansas (2-1), Texas State (2-0) and Northwestern State (10-9).
- A&M - Corpus Christi has tallied eight double-figure hitting games this season, with their most hits (16) coming against Iowa State, Bryant and Northwestern State.
- Liz Carter has earned six of the Islanders' seven wins this season in the circle, which ranks in a tie for fourth in the conference.
- In 26 games, the Islanders have surpassed their home run total from a year ago (16). The squad has 17 on the year, with Morse leading the pack with five. Valerie Perez has four while Mickayla Cochran and J.J. Jackson have each cranked three on the year.
- Junior utility player Lindsey Lyles was tabbed Preseason Second Team All-Southland. She played in all 27-conference games last season while splitting time between third base, shortstop, second base and designed player. She cranked her first home run of the season at Northwestern State.
- Assistant Coach Keith Stein joined the Islanders in November after spending the past year as a volunteer assistant coach for UTSA.
- Head Coach Stephanie Hughes is in her third season with the Islanders along with Pitching Coach Sarah Pauly.
Liz Carter (6-8) has picked up all but one of the Islanders victories this season and has been a consistent leader in the Islanders circle this season. She recorded her first complete game victory against SFA, allowing just five hits, two runs and no walks in seven innings. Her second win of the season came against New Mexico State. The freshman limited the Aggies to just four hits while walking five and striking out two in seven innings. At the UTSA Mid-Major Classic, Carter secured her third win of the season against Bryant.
At the Texas A&M Invitational, Carter was superb in the Islanders' circle earning her first one-hit shutout against Connecticut. After Connecticut recorded a hit in the top of the first, the freshman did not allow a hit through the final five innings. The Austin, Texas native registered her first career conference victory on Friday against Central Arkansas after allowing just five hits and one run while walking three and striking out two Bears in seven innings.
At Texas State, Carter limited the Bobcats to just three hits and did not allow a run to help propel the Islanders to a 2-0 victory.
Carter holds a 5.47 ERA in 19 appearances (T-1st SLC) and 93.1 innings pitched (3rd SLC). Her team-high 44 strikeouts are good for seventh place in the league. Carter has started in 15 games (2nd SLC) while posting eight complete games. Her six wins in the Islander's circle are tied for fourth in the conference and her three shutout wins are tied for a league best.
Not only does Carter make her presence known in the circle, but she is also a threat at the plate. At the Troy Cox Classic in Las Cruces, N.M., she made her first plate appearance against the Aggies. In the 5-0 win, Carter tallied her first career hit of the game through the middle and went 2-for-3 in the game with one run and an RBI. In the Islanders win over Connecticut, Carter was outstanding at the plate, going 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Against Central Arkansas, Carter put together a solid outing, going 3-for-4 with a double and four total bases. She tallied a .750 batting average while registering a .800 on-base percentage and a 1.000 slugging percentage.
This season, Carter is hitting .382 to go along with 13 hits, three runs and four RBIs in 34 at bats.
Brittney Morse has established herself as a power hitter since arriving at the Island University. The freshman is hitting .343 and has tallied 24 hits in 23 of the Islanders 26 games. Her team-high .629 slugging percentage ranks eighth in the conference and she leads the team with five home runs (T-7th SLC).
Dani Tefft could arguably be the Islanders most improved played from a year ago. This season the sophomore leads the Islanders with a .364 batting average (7th SLC) and is second on the team with 28 hits (T-6th SLC) while starting in all 26 games. Flashback to a year ago, Tefft tallied a .224 batting average and 28 hits in 48 games. This season, she is just one stolen base away from tying her total from last season and she has already matched her runs total of 18 (T-5th SLC) from a year ago. Her two triples are good for a tie in third place in the conference and 59th in the nation.
Tefft had an impressive five games at the Troy Cox Classic going 10-for-16 for a conference-leading .625 batting average. In conference play, Tefft put together a superb weekend at Northwestern State. The Sugar Land, Texas native went a perfect 3-for-3 and scored twice in the opening game to help lift the Islanders to a 10-9 victory. In the final two games, she went 3-for-7 to extend her hitting streak to four games. For the weekend, Tefft hit .600 to go along with a .600 slugging percentage and a .600 on-base percentage.
Senior Valerie Perez is second on the team with a .363 batting average (8th SLC) and is tied for fifth in the conference with a team-high 29 hits. Perez has registered a team-best six doubles and 49 total bases (T-6th SLC). Her .613 slugging percentage is second on the team and she has also chipped in 20 RBIs, which ranks in a tie for ninth place in the league.
The Corpus Christi native led the offense with eight hits and seven RBIs in five games at the UTSA Mid-Major Classic. Against Bryant she hit a three-run homer to help lift the Islanders to a 9-6 victory. Perez also tacked on four runs and 11 total bases while hitting .444. For the weekend, she recorded a .611 slugging percentage and a .500 on-base percentage.
J.J. Jackson has been a consistent leader for the Islanders' offense this season. In her first three years, the senior tallied 54 hits and one home run. This season, the Desoto, Texas, native has already registered 25 hits and three home runs. Jackson and Valerie Perez lead the team with 20 RBIs each (T-9th SLC) and is fourth on the team with a .338 batting average. She also holds a team-best .395 on-base percentage.
At Texas State, Jackson cranked a two-run home run in the second game to power the Islanders to a 2-0 victory.
Prior to that, Jackson led the Islanders' bats against Central Arkansas with four hits, including her second double of the season, and a team-best four RBIs. Jackson went 1-for-2 with an RBI single to help the Islanders to a 2-1 victory over UCA in the conference opener. For the weekend, she collected five total bases to go along with a .556 slugging percentage and a .500 on-base percentage.
Freshman Katie Blanar (1-3) earned her first collegiate victory in the Islanders' circle on Saturday in the opening game at Northwestern State. The Pearland, Texas native was solid after coming in relief for Liz Carter and Constance Brandenburg. Blanar allowed just two hits and didn't allow a run while collecting three strikeouts in three innings. This season, Blanar has started in three games while appearing in 14 and registering 10 strikeouts in 32.2 innings.
Dani Tefft is on a four-game hitting streak while Liz Carter is on a three-game hitting streak. Valerie Perez and Lindsey Lyles are each on a one-game hitting streak. The longest hitting streaks of the season go to Cochran and freshman Mackinzee Griebel, who both put together a seven-game hitting streak.
RUNS RUNS RUNS
Seniors Valerie Perez and J.J. Jackson along with freshman Brittney Morse have combined for 54 of the teams' 95 RBIs while Morse, Perez Dani Tefft and Mickayla Cochran have registered 61 of the Islanders' 102 runs.
The Islanders welcome seven newcomers this season, including six freshmen and one junior transfer. Joining Carter, Morse and Blanar are Mackinzee Griebel (Lockhart, Texas) and and utility player Jessica Mendez (Corpus Christi, Texas). Griebel is hitting .247 and has recorded 19 hits, six RBIs and 21 total bases in 26 starts in right field. Mendez adds speed to the Islanders' offense and outfield. Rounding out the freshman class is Emma Stipe (Round Rock, Texas) who will redshirt this season. Joining the junior class is Cassidy Ivy (Huntington, Texas). She arrived at the Island University after playing two seasons at Angelina JC. In her first career at bat against Southern Illinois, Ivy blasted a two RBI home run over the right field wall. Ivy is hitting .154 and has chipped in four RBIs in 10 games.
SCOUTING THE ROADRUNNERS
UTSA comes into the weekend with a 12-17 record after dropping five of its last six games. This season, the Roadrunners have picked up wins against Lamar, Texas, Bryant, Chattanooga, Louisiana Tech, North Texas and the Islanders.
As a team the Roadrunners are hitting .226 and are powered by Megan Low, who leads the nation with 11 home runs. She also leads UTSA with a .354 batting average and 29 hits. In the circle, UTSA depends on three pitchers to get the job done. Nicole Merrill (4-7) leads the pitchers with a 3.20 ERA in 16 appearances and 12 starts. Chelsea Parker (1-4) has appeared in 14 games and has recorded a 4.12 ERA in 34.0 innings. Rounding out the staff is Kacy Freeze (7-6) with a 4.20 ERA in a team-high 21 appearances and 85.0 innings.
SERIES HISTORY: The Islanders and Roadrunners will meet for the second time this season and 47th time in program history on Wednesday. UTSA leads the all-time series 29-17. Earlier this season, the Islanders faced the Roadrunners in the UTSA Mid-Major Classic. UTSA scored a run in each of the first five innings en route to a 10-4 win over the Islanders. Mickayla Cochran recorded a pair of RBIs and chipped in a hit along with Dani Tefft, Michelle Sorenson, Lindsey Lyles and Mackinzee Griebel who each added on hit apiece for the Islanders' bats. Liz Carter took the loss for the Islanders in the circle. The freshman gave up 11 hits and nine runs, six of them earned, while walking two and striking out three in 4.1 innings.
Following Wednesday's game, the Islanders will host McNeese State in a three-game conference series starting on Saturday, March 22 at Chapman Field. First pitch of the doubleheader will start at 1 p.m. with the final game of the series set for Sunday, March 23, at 12 p.m. Sunday will feature the Islanders annual Strikeout Breast Cancer Pink Game and the Junior USSSA Pride team will also be recognized.
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