Softball Heads to Waco For Three Day Miken Classic

GAME NOTES | TOURNAMENT CENTRAL

MIKEN CLASSIC

Feb. 15-17 • Getterman Stadium • Waco, Texas

Game 1: Friday, Feb. 15 • 10 a.m. | Northern Colorado vs. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi

Game 2: Friday, Feb. 15 • 12:30 p.m. | Pacific vs. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 

Game 3: Saturday, Feb. 16 • 12:30 p.m. | Texas A&M - Corpus Christi vs. Baylor | LIVE STATS

Game 4: Saturday, Feb. 16 • 3 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. | TBA   

Game 5: Sunday, Feb. 17 • 9 a.m. or 11 a.m. | TBA


THE FIRST PITCH

The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team will travel to Waco, Texas, to compete in the Miken Classic at Getterman Stadium this weekend. Host Baylor, Northern Colorado and the University of the Pacific will join the Islanders for the three-day event. The Islanders will open its first two of five games on Friday, Feb. 15, against Northern Colorado from the Big Sky Conference and the University of the Pacific from the Big West Conference. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi will then take on Baylor on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 12:30 p.m. before bracket play begins in the afternoon. The Islanders will wrap up play on Sunday, Feb. 17 with a single game.

The Islanders finished with a 1-4 record last weekend at the Texas Classic to open the season. The squad dropped two games to No. 7/9 Texas and one to North Texas and Memphis before wrapping the weekend with a 3-0 victory over the Tigers.

Last season, the Islanders faced Baylor in a doubleheader at Chapman Field. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi fell short, 6-1 and 3-0 in his home opener. The Islanders will face Pacific and Northern Colorado for just the second time in school history. The last time the squad faced the Tigers was in 2011 and the Bears was in 2005.

The Islanders head into Friday's game vs. the Bears with a 1-4 record.

QUICK HITS

•Texas A&M - Corpus Christi lost seven seniors including three of the Islanders' top pitchers and outfielder Hannah Schwarz who led the NCAA in sacrifice hits per game in Division I last season.

•The Islanders are young with just one senior and 15 on the roster.  The squad returns three starters and 11 letterwinners from a team that finished with an 18-23 overall record (11-9 SLC) a year ago.

• The Islanders advanced to the Southland Conference Tournament last year for the fourth year and finished fourth.

• The 2013 roster has four newcomers: Freshman Ashley Elicerio (P/UT), freshman Dani Tefft (OF), Natalie Zarzabal (OF) and sophomore transfer from McLennan CC, Michelle Sorenson (C/UT).

•The Islanders return four of their top six hitters from the 2012 team. Leading the way is Meagan McKinney who tallied a .462 batting average last weekend in five starts at first base. The senior registered two home runs and six hits to earn Southland Conference honorable mention.

•Last season, McKinney started in all 37 games she played in. She finished third on the team with 26 hits and second with 12 runs. She was also 4-for-5 in stolen bases and led the team with 274 put outs, which was good for sixth place in the conference. She earned the Islanders Gold's Gym Award in strength and conditioning last season.

•Junior Constance Brandenburg tallied a career-high eight strikeouts in seven innings on Sunday against Memphis. She allowed just one hit in the final frame against 29 batters.

•Head Coach Stephanie Hughes is in her second year with the Islanders. She became the Islanders fifth head coach in program history when she was hired on August 19, 2011. Hughes was named the 2013 SLC Preseason All-Conference Coach of the Year by College Sports Madness. Assistant Coach Briana Bishop and pitching Coach Sarah Pauly also enter their second year with the Islanders

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS

Northern Colorado: The Bears finished with a 25-28 record last season and  come into Friday's contest with a 2-3 record. Northern Colorado opened their season at the Cyclone Invitational in Ames, Iowa.  The Bears dropped two games to Indiana State, split with South Dakota State and picked up a victory against IPFW. Jamie Pollak leads the team with a .455 batting average while Mikayla Duffy is second on the team with a .412 batting average. Duffy leads the team with seven hits.  Kelci Cheney leads the Bears in the circle with a 0.78 ERA in 18 innings. Megan Wilkinson is second in the circle with a 2.10 ERA in 10 innings of work.

Pacific: The Tigers enter Friday's contest with a 3-0 record. Pacific opened their season at Santa Clara and picked up two victories. The Tigers followed it with a 3-0 victory at Sacramento State on Tuesday. Pacific has shut out two of their opponents to open the season. Alex Steinmehl leads the Tigers with a .667 batting average. Melanie Habib is second on the second with a .429 batting average. Nikki Armagost leads Pacific in the circle with a perfect 0.00 ERA in 14 innings. She has tallied 12 strikeouts and has allowed eight hits in two appearances.   

Baylor: The Islanders will meet Baylor on Saturday. The Bears head into Friday's play with a 5-2 record. Baylor sealed victories against Illinois State, Northern Illinois and Southern Miss. Baylor dropped an 8-0 loss to Illinois State and a 2-0 loss to Sam Houston State over the weekend. Bailey Chalmers leads Baylor with a ,400 batting average  while Kaitlyn Thumann is second on the team with a .391 batting average and leads the team with nine hits. Courtney Repka leads the Bears in the circle with a perfect 0.00 in 11 innings. Whitney Canion is second with a 0.38 ERA in 18.2 innings and has tallied a team-high 32 strikeouts.  

IN THE CIRCLE

Pitching coach and seven-year NPF veteran Sarah Pauly has a young group of pitchers this season after losing standout pitchers Greta Cecchetti, Jordan Trujillo and Vianca Pesina. Cecchetti was second in the Southland Conference last season with a 0.58 ERA and second in strikeouts with 82.

Junior Constance Brandenburg leads the pitchers in the circle this season with a 4.94 ERA in 17 innings.  Last weekend she tallied 12 strikeouts in four appearances and three starts. The junior recorded a career-high eight strikeouts against Memphis on Sunday in the Islanders 3-0 victory.

Sophomore Bethany Slick appeared in one game last weekend and gave up one walk. The Islanders will rely heavily on right-handed pitcher Ashley Elicerio. The freshman and utility player posted her first career start in a 7-5 loss to Memphis last weekend. Elicerio appeared in four games over the week and tallied four strikeouts in 10.2 innings. She also recorded one hit at two at-bats.

FRESH FACES

The 2013 team welcomes four newcomers, freshman Ashley Elicerio (P/UT), freshman Dani Tefft (OF), freshman Natalie Zarzabal (Of) and sophomore transfer from McLennan CC, Michelle Sorenson (C/UT).

Elicerio is a 5-7 pitcher and utility player. She played four years at Hendrickson High School and was tabbed Utility Player of the Year three consecutive years. She led the Hawks to a 17-9 record during her senior season after advancing the team to the regional quarterfinals.

Zarzabal, a right-handed outfielder, played at Steele High School in Cibolo, Texas. During her sophomore year she recorded a .409 batting average and followed it with a .365 batting average during her junior year. Last weekend, Zarzabal tallied one hit while making three starts in right field.

Tefft was a four-year starter at Kempner High School in Sugar Land, Texas. The left-hander led the team with a .434 batting average while helping her team win the 2011 Bi-District Championship and the 2011 District 23-5A Championship. Tefft recorded two hits and two runs in five starts in left field.  

Sorenson recorded 18 putouts behind home plate over the weekend. She posted a .358 batting average while appearing in 43 of 51 games during the 2010-11 season at McLennan CC. She helped her team win the Region V championship and earned second team all-conference honors.

PRESEASON POLLS

The Islanders were selected to finish fourth in the 2013 Southland Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll in a vote by both the conference's head coaches and sports information directors. Sophomore Mickayla Cochran (OF) was tabbed All-Southland Preseason Second Team. The Islanders were also tabbed fourth in the Preseason Sports Information Director's poll.

SCHEDULE

Texas A&M - Corpus Christi will play host to 21 games at Chapman Field this season. The Islanders will play a total of 50 regular-season games and will play a three-game series format in the Southland Conference. The Islanders will once again have a competitive non-conference schedule. After the Miken Classic, the Islanders will return to the Coastal Bend to open their home schedule with Kansas before hosting the Best Western Marina Grand Islanders Classic. Kansas, Auburn, New Mexico and Southern University are all on tap to compete. The Islanders will also compete in the CentralLink Classic in San Marcos, Texas, against the likes of North Texas, Purdue and former SLC Champion Texas State.