April 3, 2014

Baseball Looks to Carry Momentum Into SFA Series

CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team (16-15, 6-3 Southland) will look to extend its six-game win streak, as the Islanders return to conference play against Stephen F. Austin (13-14, 4-5) with a three game set this weekend. The series starts with a 6 p.m. tilt Friday at Chapman Field.

Most recently the Islanders swept their last Southland matchup, as they won all three games against New Orleans a week ago. The Lumberjacks are coming off a midweek win against Arkansas-Little Rock, and also came off a big series win against Central Arkansas, taking two out of three against the Bears.

Game one will feature two of the best Friday night starters in the conference, as Matt Danton (4-2, 2.82 ERA) will match up with Cameron Gann (4-0, 1.93) in the series opener.

Danton is coming off his best outing of the season, as he went eight innings against the Privateers while giving up no runs on four hits. The righty has been a workhorse for the Islanders, leading the league in innings pitched at 51. Danton is also tied for fourth in the conference, along with Gann, in strikeouts with 39 so far this season.

In his last outing, Gann just picked up a quality start, as the righty went six innings while giving up three runs. The junior has stymied his opponents at the plate on the year, as he leads the Southland in opponent batting average at .170.

Gann will be facing a hot Islander lineup that scored 15 runs Tuesday night against UTPA. In that game, Cody Stephens had the first four-hit game of his career to move his batting average up to a team leading .305 among players with at least 50 at bats. He is now also second on the team with 15 RBIs, with Kyle Danford pacing the team in that category with 20.

Junior transfer Frankie Salas has also heated up at the plate recently, pushing his average up to .342 in his 17 games played this season.

The leading man at the dish for SFA has been Mackenzie Handel, as he is first in the team in batting average (.330), home runs (7), RBIs (26), slugging percentage (.608), and walks (18). All of these marks besides batting average also ranks in the top three in the Southland.

Game two will feature a pair of southpaws at 5 p.m. Saturday, as it will be Trevor Belicek (4.09, 1-4) throwing against SFA's Dillon Mangham (3.05, 4-2). Belicek followed up Danton's performance at UNO with his best outing of the season as well, throwing a complete game with two earned runs to earn his first victory of the year. He also set down the final 15 batters to end the game.

Mangham also picked up the win his last time out, by throwing six innings, while allowing two earned runs.

In the series final freshman Devin Skapura (3.00, 3-2) will start on the bump against senior Kevin Bishop (5.53, 1-3).

To keep up with the action, be sure to follow the team on Twitter and Instagram (@IslandersBSB) and like them on Facebook (Islanders Baseball). Fans can also watch the game live or follow along with live stats on GoIslanders.com.