Softball Heads To San Marcos for Three-Day CenturyLink Classic

GAME NOTES | TOURNAMENT CENTRAL

CENTURYLINK CLASSIC

March 1-3 • Bobcat Softball Stadium  • San Marcos, Texas

Game 1: Friday, March 1 • 10 a.m. • North Texas 

Game 2: Friday, March 1 • 12:30 p.m. • Purdue   

Game 3: Saturday, March 2 • 12:30 p.m. • Texas State

Game 4: Saturday, March 2 • 5:30 p.m. • Purdue

Game 5: Sunday, March 3 • 12:30 p.m. • North Texas


THE FIRST PITCH

The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team will travel to San Marcos to take part in the three-day CenturyLink Classic, hosted by Texas State on March 1-3. The Islanders will open its first two of five games on Friday, March 1, against North Texas for the second time this season before facing Purdue of the Big Ten. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi will then take on former Southland opponent Texas State on Saturday, March 2 before taking on Purdue in the night cap. The Islanders will wrap play on Sunday, March 3, against North Texas.

The Islanders finished with a 3-2 last weekend at Chapman Field. The squad topped Kansas in its home opener 1-0, before tallying a 2-2 record in the Best Western Marina Grand Islanders Classic. The Islanders notched an eight-inning victory over New Mexico and a 7-3 victory over Southern University. The Islanders fell to Kansas and Auburn on the second day of the classic.

The Islanders will face Purdue for the first time since 2002 and are looking to bounce back from an 11-3 loss to the Mean Green in the Texas Classic to start the season. The Islanders split last season with the Bobcats in a two-game homestand at Chapman Field.

The Islanders will head into the weekend with a 5-10 record, while Purdue holds a 6-9 record and North Texas stands at 7-9. Texas State is 2-12 on the year.

QUICK HITS

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

•Senior Meagan McKinney is powering the Islanders' bats with a .386 batting average. Last weekend McKinney recorded a .529 batting average in a five-game homestand. She led the Islanders to a 1-0 victory over Kansas on Thursday with two hits and followed it with seven hits in the Best Western Marina Grand Islanders Classic to help the Islanders to a 2-2 record over the three-day event.  She leads the team with 17 hits, five doubles and two home runs to go along with a team-high 13 RBI. 

• Junior Constance Brandenburg leads the Islanders in the circle with 49.1 innings pitched and 32 strikeouts.

• Brandenburg was steller in the Islanders' 1-0 victory over Kansas on Thursday. She junior tallied a career-high nine strikeouts in a complete game strikeout, while allowing just one walk and four hits.

• Freshman Ashley Elicerio clinched her first career victory on Sunday in the Islanders 7-3 victory over Southern. Elicerio recorded a career-high six strikeouts in seven innings and allowed just two hits.

• The Islanders exploded for a season-high 12 hits on in a 6-4 victory over Northern Colorado in the Miken Classic in Waco, Texas. Mickayla Cochran went 3-for-4 with three hits and two RBI.

•Head Coach Stephanie Hughes is in her second year with the Islanders. She was a four-year letterwinner for Texas State and a two-time SLC Tournament Champion.  

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS

North Texas: The Mean Green enter Friday's game with a 7-9 record after facing Texas State, Texas Tech, UTA and Baylor in San Marcos, Texas. North Texas went 3-2 over the weekend, picking up victories against Texas State, Texas Tech and UTA. The Mean Green dropped two losses to Baylor. Jennifer Beardsley leads the team with a .400 batting average while Jordan Terry is second on the team with a .297 batting average. Brooke Foster leads the team with 13 hits.  Brittany Simmons leads the Mean Green in the circle with a 3.27 ERA in 30 innings. Lauren Poole is second in the circle with a 3.39 ERA in 20.2 innings of work.

Purdue: The Boilermakers enter Friday's contest with a 6-9 record after tallying a 1-4 record last weekend. Purdue split with Southland Conference opponent Southeastern La. but dropped two games to No. 10 Texas A&M and one to UTSA.  Andie Varsho leads the Boilermakers with a .404 batting average. Ashley Burkhardt is second on the team with a .396 batting average. Both Varsho and Burkhardt have 19 hits on the year. Alex Whittemore leads Purdue in circle with a 0.58 ERA in 12.0 innings. Lilly Fecho is second with a 2.05 ERA in 44.1 innings. She has tallied a team-high 28 strikeouts in 12 appearances.   

Texas State: The Islanders will meet the Bobcats on Saturday. Texas State heads into Friday's play with a 2-12 after dropping its first six games. The former Southland opponent picked up victories against Mississippi Valley State before dropping its last six games. Kellie Baker leads the Bobcats with a .304 batting average while Haley Lemons is second on the team with a .262 batting average. Baker leads Texas State with 14 hits. Rayn House leads the Bobcats in the circle with a 4.01 ERA in 29.2 innings. Anne Marie Taylor leads the Bobcats with 18 strikeouts in 22.1 innings

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 has been the Islanders go to pitcher in the circle this season with a 3.83 ERA in 49.1 innings. The junior recorded a career-high nine strikeouts in a complete game strikeout, while allowing just one walk and four hits over Kansas.

Sophomore Bethany Slick picked up her first career victory in the circle against Northern Colorado in her first career start. Slick has a 4.50 ERA in 14.0 innings. Ashley Elicerio rounds out the pitchers with a 7.97 ERA in 26.1 innings. Elicerio has a .273 batting average in two games and has tallied three hits.

LEADING OFF

Leadoff hitter Mickayla Cochran has been consistent for the Islanders this season. The sophomore is second on the team with a .313 batting average in 15 starts. She has 15 hits and two doubles to go along with two home runs. Cochran has a team-high 12 runs and 22 put outs in center field.

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. Zarzabal tallied her first career home run against Northern Colorado in the Islanders 6-4 victory.

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 at the Texas Classic.   

Sorenson has 45 putouts behind home plate this season and has caught seven stolen bases. 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. After the CenturyLink Classic, the Islanders will open conference play at home against first-year member Houston Baptist in a three-game series starting Saturday, March 9.