May 8, 2014

Baseball Readies For Final Home Series, Hosts Lamar

CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team will host its final homestand of the season this weekend, as Lamar will travel to the Coastal Bend for a three-game set starting Friday. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.

The Islanders (28-21, 17-7 Southland) come into the series in sole possession of first place in the conference after winning their last four conference series, with a 10-2 record during those games.

The Cardinals (28-20, 13-11) currently saw its streak of four consecutive series victories come to an end, dropping its last two games against Houston Baptist after winning the series opener to fall to seventh in the league.

Game one will feature Matt Danton (6-2, 3.23) throwing against senior southpaw David Carver (2-1, 3.29). Danton has been a force on the mound this year, as he has thrown 83 2/3 innings as the Friday starter, a mark that ranks second in the Southland. The righty has picked up 10 quality starts in his 12 outings, while posting the lowest ERA on the team.

Offensively the Islanders are led by third baseman Brandon Tierney, who currently leads the team in batting average (.352), slugging percentage (.486), on-base percentage (.453), hits (63) and hit by pitches (14). Both his batting and on-base percentage rank him in the tops in the Southland, sitting at ninth and fifth, respectively.

Fellow senior Russell Vaughan has been a tear at the plate during conference play, ranking ninth in the Southland and leading the team with an average of .367 in league games. He has also recorded 20 of his 24 RBIs against conference foes, which is the eighth most in the Southland.

Cody Stephens paces the team in RBIs with 31, while Tyler Ware is right behind him at 30 and is tied with Tierney with three home runs.

The Islanders have also seen some magnificent performances out of the bullpen recently. Jacob Dorris has been dominate during Southland play, with an 0.84 ERA in 21 1/3 innings pitched on 11 appearances. He has also tallied five saves, giving up just two runs, both coming off a home run against Stephen F. Austin four series ago.

Kevin Landgrebe has been equally impressive in relief, allowing just three earned runs over 14 innings in his last eight appearances. Like Dorris, most all of his earned runs have come in one game, with four of his seven hits allowed coming from a matchup against Oral Roberts. During this stretch, Landgrebe has recorded a 4-0 record with his first career save as well as 12 strikeouts.

This duo, as well as the rest of the Islanders pitching staff will face a Lamar lineup that is hitting .293 this season, the second best mark in the conference. The Cardinals are led at the dish by Sam Bumpers who is hitting .358 overall on the year, but is hitting an incredible .471 during conference play. He also leads the team in hits (69), doubles (13), triples (4), home runs (4) and slugging percentage (.528).

However, he does not boast the highest RBI total on the team, as Jacoby Middleton has driven the most runs at 36.

Saturday's game at 6 p.m. will feature Trevor Belicek (4-5, 4.28) throwing against Chase Angelle (4-5, 3.62). Belicek has won his last four appearances, and is the team leader in strikeouts with 60, with 40 of those coming in league play — the third most in the conference.

A&M – Corpus Christi has yet to name a starter to go up against Lamar's Will Hibbs (4-3, 3.92) in the series finale on Sunday at 1 p.m. The game will honor seniors Tierney, Stephens, Vaughan, Jacob Hubert and AJ Longoria, as it will be those individuals final game at Chapman Field.

Fans can follow along with all the action with video and live stats on GoIslanders.com, as well as live updates on Twitter (@IslandersBSB).