May 23, 2012

Islanders Face No. 1 Seed Sam Houston State in Southland Tournament Opener

SAN MARCOS, Texas – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team will face Southland Conference Regular Season Champion Sam Houston State on Wednesday, taking on the No. 1 seeded Bearkats in the opening round of the Southland Conference Tournament on the campus of Texas State. The game is set for a 12 p.m. first pitch at Bobcat Ballpark.

Texas A&M – Corpus Christi will start Daniel Minor, while the Bearkats will go with Caleb Smith on the mound. Both pitchers suffered losses their first times pitching against the other team during the conference series.

The Islanders (23-31) come into the tournament as the No. 8 seed, and will face to top seeded Bearkats (36-18) for the fourth time this season. In the previous meeting, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi won the opening game of the Southland Conference series before falling in two hard-fought games on the Saturday and Sunday of the weekend.

Friday night featured an efficient five runs on six hits from the Islanders, while starter Trevor Foss worked 6.0 innings, giving up five hits and two runs, while walking five and striking out a then career-high nine batters. Tyler Schnuriger came on and worked 2.1 perfect innings before giving up a walk, and Phillip Garcia came on and closed the door by getting the final two outs for the 5-2 win. The Bearkats pitched Smith in that game, with the starter giving up four runs on four hits and three walks in 5.0 innings.

On Saturday, the game was back-and-forth, with the Islanders taking the early lead, until back-to-back three run innings by Sam Houston gave them a 7-4 lead. Texas A&M – Corpus Christi rallied for two runs in the eighth and one in the ninth to tie the game, but a balk forced a run in during the bottom of the ninth to give the Bearkats the 8-7 final.

Minor started the Sunday game and was cruising, allowing just one base runner through the first three innings until the Bearkats tagged him for five runs on five hits in the bottom of the fourth. He worked another 2.1 innings with no runs and three hits before being relieved. The Bearkats would go on to take a 6-3 final for the series win in Huntsville.

This meeting will feature two of the top Southland Conference pitchers in Minor and Smith in a neutral site setting. The first game is an important one for the Islanders, with winner of the game will advance in the winner's bracket and play again at 4 p.m. on Thursday. The loser will have a much more difficult task, playing a 9 a.m. game on Thursday to try to stay alive in the tournament.

Last year in the tournament, the Islanders lost the opening game before bouncing back and making it all the way to the semifinals with a win over Lamar, Stephen F. Austin and two wins over UTSA, including a dramatic comeback where the team scored eight runs in the top of the ninth against SFA, and a walk-off home run by Bobby Buckner to knock UTSA out of the tournament. They will be looking to recreate some of that magic from a year ago, and take the next step starting on Thursday at noon.

Live stats and video for all games in the tournament will be available through www.Southland.org.

Live audio for the Islanders games can be found at www.GoIslanders.com during all of the ones the team is playing in.

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