UTSA (13-8, 0-0 WAC) AT TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (6-17, 1-2 SLC)
THE FIRST PITCH
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team will take a break from Southland Conference action Wednesday, March 13, to host former Southland Conference opponent UTSA at Chapman Field. The Islanders will take on the Roadrunners in a single game before heading on the road this weekend for Southland Conference play.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi opened the conference schedule against HBU at Chapman Field over the weekend. The Islanders edged the Huskies 4-3 in the first game after Lindsey Lyles cranked a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh. However, the Huskies came back to snare the next two games to go 2-1 on the weekend.
The last time the Islanders and Roadrunners faced each other was last season in the second round of the conference tournament. The Islanders captured a 2-1 victory to advance. Prior to that, the Islanders and Roadrunners split at Chapman Field in a conference doubleheader on March 7. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi dropped the first game 6-1 before sealing the victory 2-1 in the second game. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is 17-25 all-time against the Roadrunners and Wednesday's game will mark the 43rd meeting between the two teams.
The Islanders will head into the midweek contest with a 6-17 record, while UTSA holds a 13-8 record.
Head Coach Stephanie Hughes is in her second year with the Islanders and was named the 2013 SLC Preseason All-Conference Coach of the Year by College Sports Madness.
•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.
•Senior Meagan McKinney is powering the Islanders' bats with a .339 batting average. She is second on the team with 21 hits while leading the team with five doubles and two home runs to go along with a team-high 14 RBI.
•Mickayla Cochran has been consistent as the Islanders' leadoff batter. She is second behind McKinney with a .315 batting average and leads the team with 13 runs. She went 2-for-3 in back-to-back games in the CenturyLink Classic, hosted by Texas State.
•Lindsey Lyles ignited the Islanders' offense in the conference home opener against HBU. The sophomore cranked a walk-off single to third base with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to lift the Islanders to a 4-3 victory. Lyles went 3-for-3 with a double and 1 RBI. She followed that performance with a triple, a double and 2 RBI in the second game on Saturday to finish 5-for-6 on the day with 3 RBI.
•Lyles tallied a .556 batting average to lead the Islanders in conference play.
•Junior Constance Brandenburg leads the Islanders in the circle with 69.1 innings pitched and 35 strikeouts.
•Wednesday's game will mark the 43rd meeting between the two teams. UTSA holds the 17-25 all-time series advantage over the Islanders.
•Head Coach Stephanie Hughes is in her second year with the Islanders and will face UTSA, a team she spent eight seasons with including seven as an assistant. She spent the 2011 season as the interim head coach of the Roadrunners.
•The Islanders will head on the road this weekend to face McNeese State in conference play.
SCOUTING THE ROADRUNNERS
UTSA heads into Wednesday's game with a 13-8 record after sealing their fourth straight win and second against HBU on the road on Wednesday, March 6. The Roadrunners dropped their first two opening games of the season to Lamar before clinching the next five games to start the season. UTSA has won six of its last seven games.
Megan Low leads UTSA with a .449 batting average and 22 hits while Alexis Ramirez is second on the team with a .356 batting average and 21 hits. Haylee Staton (7-2) leads the Roadrunners in the circle with a 1.84 ERA in 68.1 innings and has tallied a team-high 49 strikeouts. Alyssa Vordenbaum (4-3) has a 3.03 ERA in 39.1 innings and has tallied 22 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 (4-7) has been the Islanders go to pitcher in the circle this season with a 4.64 ERA in 69.1 innings. Brandenburg has tallied a team-high 35 strikeouts in 18 appearances. 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 (1-2) picked up her first career victory in the circle against Northern Colorado in her first career start. Slick has a 5.75 ERA in 24.1 innings and 10 appearances.
Ashley Elicerio (1-8) rounds out the pitchers with a 5.93 ERA in 46.0 innings and 13 appearances. Elicerio also has seen action at the plate and has tallied a .231 batting average in five games and has tallied three hits. She clinched her first career victory in the Islanders 7-3 victory over Southern. Elicerio recorded a career-high six strikeouts in seven innings and allowed just two hits.
Leadoff hitter Mickayla Cochran has been consistent for the Islanders this season. The sophomore is second on the team with a .315 batting average in all 23 starts. She has a team-high 23 hits and has recorded three doubles to go along with two home runs. Cochran also has a team-high 13 runs and has posted 30 putouts in center field. Cochran went 3-for-4 with three hits and two RBI in a 6-4 victory over Northern Colorado in the Miken Classic in Waco, Texas. She opened the CenturyLink Classic going 2-for-3 in back-to-back games against North Texas and Purdue. Cochran went 2-for-4 in the conference opener vs. HBU.
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. This season, 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. This season, Tefft recorded two hits and two runs in five starts in left field at the Texas Classic. The freshman went 2-for-3 against HBU in game two of the doubleheader.
Sorenson has 61 putouts behind home plate this season and has caught 12 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.
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 to lead the Islanders. The Islanders are 5-1 when they out-hit their opponents and 5-3 when they score first.
Co-captain junior Valerie Perez has been the vocal leader for the team this season along with McKinney. Perez has tallied 12 hits and three doubles this season in 20 games. She has also recorded 33 putouts at shortstop this season. The Islanders have won six games when Perez has been in the starting lineup and 0-4 when the junior hasn't started or been in the game.
Sophomore Hayley Galloway has battled back from off-season surgery to record a .246 batting average. She has made starts in 21 of the Islanders 22 games and has a team-high five sacrifice hits. Galloway has 14 hits and 40 putouts between second base and shortstop this season.
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.
Following Wednesday's game with UTSA, the Islanders will travel to Lake Charles, La. on March 16 and March 17, to take on McNeese State in their first conference road games of the season.