April 1, 2014

Softball to Host UTSA for Midweek Game at Chapman Field

TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (7-27) VS. UTSA (16-19) | CHAPMAN FIELD | CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS | APRIL 2 • 3 P.M.

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$1 HOT DOG DAY


The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team will take a break from Southland Conference play to host UTSA in a single game at Chapman Field on Wednesday, April 2 at 3 p.m.

QUICK HITS
  • The Islanders will face UTSA for the third time this season.
  • A&M - Corpus Christi has compiled a 7-27 record this season including a 2-10 record in conference play after dropping the series at Abilene Christian over the weekend.
  • As a team the Islanders are hitting .277, which is good for sixth place in the Southland.
  • The Islanders have tallied 246 hits so far this season, just 59 hits shy of their total of 305 from last year.
  • A&M - Corpus Christi has five players hitting over .300 with senior Valerie Perez leading the pack with 35 hits and a team-best .340 batting average.
  • Brittney Morse is right behind Perez with a .330 batting average and a team-high seven home runs, which is the most by an Islander since 2011.
  • J.J. Jackson is just nine RBIs shy of breaking into the Islanders career top-10 list. She currently has 56 career RBIs. 
  • Mickayla Cochran ranks 29th place in the nation with a 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.
  • The Islanders surpassed their 16 home runs from a year ago 26 games into this season. The squad has 19 on the year, with Valerie Perez hitting the 17th one at Northwestern State. Brittney Morse leads the pack with seven while Valerie Perez has four and 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.

IN THE CIRCLE

Liz Carter (6-14) 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 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 5.74 ERA in 25 appearances (2nd SLC) and a league-leading 125.2 innings pitched. Carter has started in 20 games (T-1st SLC), just seven games shy of breaking into the Islanders top 10 for a single season. She has also posted 11 complete games (3rd SLC) and a team-best 61 strikeouts (6th SLC). Carter needs just three more complete games to enter the Islanders single season top-10 list.

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.

In Southland play 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 .340 to go along with 16 hits, four runs and four RBIs in 47 at bats. In conference play, she leads the team with a .421 batting average and has tallied eight hits in 19 at bats.

MORSE CODE

Brittney Morse has established herself as a power hitter since arriving at the Island University. The freshman is hitting .330 with 30 hits in 30 of the Islanders' 34 games. She has a team-high .637 slugging percentage (7th SLC) and team-best 58 total bases (7th SLC) and leads the team with seven home runs (T-3rd SLC), which is the most by an Islander since Brittany Tucker tallied seven in 2011. Morse joins Tucker and three other former Islanders with seven on the single-season top-10 list. She cranked her seventh homer of the season at Abilene Christian in the final game of the series.

The Yuma, Ariz. native led the Islanders against McNeese State with a .400 batting average to go along with a .800 slugging percentage. After drilling her sixth homer of the season in the opening game, she went 2-for-4 in the final game of the series while adding a run.

SWIFT TEFFT

Dani Tefft could arguably be the Islanders most improved played from a year ago. This season the sophomore is third on the team with a .327 batting average and is second on the team with 32 hits while starting in all 34 games. Flashback to a year ago, Tefft tallied a .224 batting average and 28 hits in 48 games.

This season, she has a team-high seven stolen bases, which matches her total from last season. Tefft is just now four stolen bases away from breaking into the Islanders career top-10 and tying Andrea Simancas' record of 18 from 2006-09. The Sugar Land, Texas native has already past her runs total of 18 from a year ago with a team-high 20 this season.

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. She 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.

HOMETOWN HERO

Senior Valerie Perez has been the Islanders' offensive spark this season and is on a one-game hitting streak. She leads the team with a .340 batting average and a team-best 35 hits while starting in all 34 games this season. Perez has also drilled a team-best eight doubles (T-6th SLC), which is just four away from matching the Islanders top-10 record for a single season and in a career. She has collected 57 total bases (T-8th SLC). Her .553 slugging percentage and 21 RBIs are both second on the team.

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. 

CONSISTENT LEADER

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 registered 28 hits and three home runs. Jackson leads the team with 24 RBIs which is just nine RBIs shy of breaking into the Islanders career top-10 list. She currently has 56 career runs batted in and is fourth on the team with a .304 batting average.

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.

At Abilene Christian in the final game of the series, Jackson went 2-for-2 with three RBIs to help the Islanders force extra innings.

FRESH RETURN

Utility player Jessica Mendez (Corpus Christi, Texas) returned to the Islanders lineup at UTSA after missing the beginning of the season with a wrist injury. After pinch running in four games, Mendez made her first career start at second base against the Roadrunners and also made her first plate appearance of the season. In her first career at bat, the freshman was hit by the pitch before recording her first hit with a single to right field in her next at bat.

Mendez followed her performance with her first stolen base of her career against McNeese State and started at second base at Texas for her fifth start of the season.

The freshman, had an outstanding weekend at Abilene Christian with a .625 on-base percentage and reached base all four times in the final game of the series including a leadoff double in the top of the sixth.

LEFTY CHANGE UP

Freshman Katie Blanar (1-3) earned her first collegiate victory in the Islanders' circle 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 four games while appearing in 18 and registering 11 strikeouts in 41.0 innings. 

RUNS RUNS RUNS

Seniors Valerie Perez and J.J. Jackson along with freshman Brittney Morse have combined for 62 of the teams' 107 RBIs while Morse, Perez, Dani Tefft and Mickayla Cochran have registered 70 of the Islanders' 117 runs.

FRESH SEVEN

The Islanders' roster is made up of seven newcomers this season, including six freshmen and one junior transfer. Joining Carter, Morse, Blanar and Mendez is Mackinzee Griebel (Lockhart, Texas) and Emma Stipe (Round Rock, Texas). Griebel is hitting .226 and has recorded 21 hits, six RBIs and 23 total bases in 29 starts in right field and three in center field, while Stipe 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 .103 and has chipped in five RBIs in 18 games.

SCOUTING THE ROADRUNNERS

UTSA comes into Wednesday's game with a 16-19 record after winning three of their last five games since playing the Islanders on March 19. This season, the Roadrunners have picked up wins against Lamar, Texas, Bryant, Chattanooga, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Houston Baptist, Southern Mississippi and the Islanders.

As a team the Roadrunners are hitting .239 and are powered by Megan Low, who is tied for first in the nation with 15 home runs. She also leads UTSA with a .388 batting average and 40 hits. In the circle, UTSA depends on three pitchers to get the job done. Nicole Merrill (5-7) leads the pitchers with a 3.26 ERA in 18 appearances and 14 starts. Kacy Freeze (9-7) has appeared in a team-high 25 games while recording a 3.76 ERA in 106.0 innings. Rounding out the staff is Chelsea Parker (2-5) with a 4.37 ERA in 18 appearances and 41.2 innings.

SERIES HISTORY: The Islanders and Roadrunners will meet for the third time this season and 48th time in program history on Wednesday. UTSA leads the all-time series 30-17. The Islanders faced the Roadrunners in the UTSA Mid-Major Classic in the early part of the season. 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.

In the last meeting in San Antonio, the Islanders jumped out to a 2-0 lead but a late surge by UTSA including back-to-back home runs in the fourth and sixth frames lifted the Roadrunners to a 3-2 victory. Cochran, Tefft, Valerie Perez, Liz Carter and Jessica Mendez all picked up one hit apiece in the loss.

UP NEXT

Following Wednesday's game, the Islanders will head back out on the road for Southland Conference play at Nicholls. The Islanders will take on the Colonels in a doubleheader on Saturday, April 5 starting at 1 p.m. The two teams will wrap the series on Sunday, April 6, at 12 p.m.

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