April 10, 2014

Baseball Travels to HBU for First Southland Meetings with Huskies

CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team will embark on a six-game Southland Conference road trip, starting with a three-game series against league newcomer Houston Baptist. First pitch of game one is set for 2 p.m. Friday at Husky Field.

The Islanders (17-18, 7-5 Southland) enter the game having fallen in their last three games following a six-game win streak. Most recently in conference play, A&M – Corpus Christi dropped a wild three-game series to Stephen F. Austin, despite being outscored by just two runs, 27-25.

The Huskies (15-14, 5-7) are coming off a midweek win against UT-Arlington, which snapped a four-game losing streak for HBU. During their stretch of losses, HBU was swept in a weekend series by McNeese, after winning its prior two Southland series, against Southeastern Louisiana and New Orleans.

This will be the first time the two squads will face off with one another in league play, with the Islanders holding a 6-2 advantage in nonconference meetings. However, last season the universities split a pair of midweek games, as both teams picked up wins on their home turf.

The Islanders will bolster the same weekend rotation they have thrown against Southland foes all year, as Matt Danton (4-2, 3.38 ERA) will get the start in the opener, followed by Trevor Belicek (1-5, 4.75) and Devin Skapura (3-2, 3.45) to close out the series.

The workhorse righty Danton has helped the bullpen get its rest on Friday nights, as he is third in the Southland with his 56 innings pitched. He has also punched out conference foes at a high rate, striking out 22 batters in his four Southland games, which ranks second in the league.

The Islanders rotation will match up with a trio of HBU righties, as the Huskies will throw Taylor Wright (2-5, 5.31), Ryan Lower (4-1, 2.23) and Curtis Jones (2-2, 2.35).

Lower's earned run average ranks him eighth in the Southland, while Jones rounds out the top 10 in that category. The duo has combined to throw 98 innings this season, while allowing only 25 runs and 13 walks.

Jones has been one of the top players this year for HBU, as he ranks fifth in innings pitched (53.2), second in complete games (2) and third in opponent batting average (.206). However, he has done more than just dominate on the bump, he also enters this game with a .333 batting average inside the batter's box. He has scored a team-high 20 runs, while driving in 14 as well.

Josh Martinez and Jordan McCoy have also been swinging a hot bat for the Huskies, as Martinez leads the team in batting average (.340), while McCoy paces the team in RBIs (18), slugging percentage (.464) and home runs (2). 

Offensively for the Islanders, Russell Vaughan has led the team in Southland play, as he is hitting .400 at the plate against league foes to go along with a .550 slugging percentage and a .467 on-base percentage. He is also tied for a team-high nine RBIs in conference games.  

For the year, Frankie Salas leads the team with his .362 average, while Brandon Tierney's .314 average at the plate is first among everyday starters. Kyle Danford continues to pace the team in RBIs, as he has knocked in 21 runs this year.

Game two of the series will start at 1 p.m., while the finale is set for a 2 p.m. start. Live audio will be available on GoIslanders.com, with live stats and video on HBUHuskies.com.

To keep up with the action, fans can also follow the team on Twitter and Instagram (@IslandersBSB) and like it on Facebook (Islanders Baseball).