TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (6-24, 1-8 SLC) AT SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA (18-11, 5-4 SLC)
THE FIRST PITCH
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team will head on the road for its next six games in conference play. First up for the Islanders is a three-game series in Hammond, La. against Southeastern Louisiana. The Islanders and Lady Lions will meet on Friday, March 29 for a doubleheader before wrapping the series on Saturday, March 30 at North Oak Park.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is coming off a tough weekend at home against Northwestern State. The Islanders dropped a three-game series and are looking to snap a nine-game losing streak. The Islanders are 1-9 on the road and will embark on its second Southland Conference road series of the season.
The last time the Islanders and Lady Lions faced each other was last season at Chapman Field. The Islanders swept the series, with a 4-0 victory in game one and a 3-1 victory in the second game. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi has won the last nine meetings and are 13-4 all-time against Southeastern Louisiana. Friday's opening game will mark the 18th meeting between the two teams.
The Islanders will head into the weekend with a 6-24 record including a 1-8 record in SLC action, while the Lady Lions hold an 18-11 record and a 5-4 record in SLC play. 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 .293 batting average. She is second on the team with 24 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 .284 batting average and leads the team with 13 runs and 27 hits.
•Lindsey Lyles has stepped up for the Islanders' bats in conference play. She leads the Islanders in all nine conference games with a .292 batting average while tallying an overall .214 batting average and .362 on-base percentage.
•Junior Constance Brandenburg leads the Islanders in the circle with 81.1 innings pitched and 38 strikeouts. Her 81.1 innings and 38 strikeouts pitched this season have surpassed her recorded innings pitched and strikeouts in her first two seasons. She recorded 54.1 innings and 31 strikeouts her first two years.
•Freshman Ashley Elicerio had a career day with seven strikeouts in six innings in the second game against McNeese State. She followed that performance with six strikeouts against Northwestern State in game one.
•The Islanders are 5-3 when they outhit their opponents.
•Friday's opening game will mark the 18th meeting between the two teams. The Islanders have won the last nine meetings and holds the 13-4 all-time series advantage over the Lady Lions.
•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.
SCOUTING THE LADY LIONS
Southeastern Louisiana heads into Friday's game with an 18-11 record including a 5-4 record in conference play. The Lady Lions are 11-4 at home this season and 2-1 at home in conference play. Southeastern La. has dropped three of its last four conference meetings and is returning home from a four-game road trip. The Lady Lions have conference victories against Sam Houston State (2), Houston Baptist (2) and McNeese State (1).
Katie Lacour leads Southeastern La. with a .375 batting average while Michelle Duhe is second on the team with a .355 batting average and team-high 33 hits. Rachael Hellyer (9-0) leads the Lady Lions in the circle with a 2.09 ERA in 63.2 innings and has tallied a team-high 41 strikeouts. Taylor Bishop (2-5) has a 2.39 ERA in 38 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 (4-10) has been the Islanders go to pitcher in the circle this season with a 4.56 ERA in 81.1 innings. Brandenburg has tallied a team-high 38 strikeouts in 21 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 (1-3) picked up her first career victory in the circle against Northern Colorado in her first career start. Slick has a 5.65 ERA in 31.0 innings and 12 appearances.
Ashley Elicerio (1-11) rounds out the pitchers with a 5.30 ERA in 71.1 innings and 18 appearances. Elicerio also has seen action at the plate and has tallied a .231 batting average in six 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. She improved her career-high with seven strikeouts in six innings at McNeese State.
Leadoff hitter Mickayla Cochran has been consistent for the Islanders this season. The sophomore is second on the team with a .284 batting average in all 30 starts. She has a team-high 27 hits and has recorded three doubles to go along with two home runs. Cochran also has a team-high 13 runs and has posted 38 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.
Ashley 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.
Natalie 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.
Dani 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 84 putouts behind home plate this season and has caught 13 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.
SWING BATTER BATTER
The Islanders are 5-3 when they out-hit their opponents and 5-3 when they score first. The Islanders are also 3-0 when it's a 1-run game. Cassie Carroll and Laura Phillips are on a one-game hitting streak.
Co-captain junior Valerie Perez has been the vocal leader for the team this season along with McKinney. Perez has tallied 16 hits and four doubles this season in 26 games. She has also recorded 44 putouts at shortstop this season. The Islanders have won six games when Perez has been in the starting lineup and 0-6 when the junior hasn't started or been in the game.
Sophomore Hayley Galloway has battled back from off-season surgery to record a .234 batting average. She has made starts in 28 of the Islanders 30 games and has a team-high five sacrifice hits. Galloway has 18 hits and 50 putouts between second base and shortstop this season.
Following Saturday's game the Islanders will travel to Beaumont, Texas to take on Lamar for the first time in history. The Islanders and Lady Cardinals will face each other in a three-game series on April 6-7 at Ford Park.