TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (8-31, 3-15 SLC) AT UTSA (20-19, 5-7 WAC)
THE FIRST PITCH
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team will take a break from conference action on Wednesday, April 17 when they travel to San Antonio to take on UTSA in a doubleheader at Roadrunner Field. It will mark the second and third time the Islanders have faced the Roadrunners this season and will be the last non-conference games of the season for Texas A&M - Corpus Christi. The Islanders are looking to bounce back from a 9-4 loss to the Roadrunners on March 13 at Chapman Field. The Islanders and Roadrunners will meet for the 44th time in history in the first of two games on Wednesday.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is coming a 1-2 record over the weekend after winning one of three games vs. Sam Houston State in conference action. The Islanders dropped the first game before rallying back to win the second game on Saturday. The Bearkats then captured the series on Sunday with an 8-5 victory in eight innings. The Islanders are 2-14 on the road this season and will face the Roadrunners for the 18th time in program history in San Antonio.
UTSA will also wrap its non-conference schedule on Wednesday. The Roadrunners have dropped seven of its last eight games, with all seven coming in in WAC play.
The Islanders will head into the weekend with an 8-31 record while the Roadrunners hold a 20-19 record.
•The Islanders are young with just one senior and 14 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.
•Mickayla Cochran has been consistent as the Islanders' leadoff batter. She is powering the Islanders' bats with a .286 batting average and 36 hits. She also has a team-high four home runs and a team-high 22 runs to go along with five doubles on the year.
•Senior Meagan McKinney is right behind Cochran with a .284 batting average. She is second on the team with 31 hits and leads the team with 19 RBI.
• The Islanders tied a game-high six RBI in the second game against Sam Houston State and matched a game-high 24 putouts in the third game against the Bearkats.
•Valerie Perez and Mickayla Cochran both tallied home runs over the weekend. Perez lifted the Islanders to a 6-5 victory over the Bearkats in game two after she cranked a two-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the seventh.
•Junior Constance Brandenburg leads the Islanders in the circle with a 4.70 ERA. Her 107.1 innings and 44 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.
•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.
•Wednesday's first game will mark the 44th meeting between the two teams in program history. The Roadrunners hold the 26-17 all-time series record.
SCOUTING THE ROADRUNNERS
UTSA heads into Wednesday's game with a 20-19 record including a 5-7 record in the Western Athletic Conference. The Roadrunners are 8-5 at home this season and will return to Roadrunner Field after a six-game road swing. UTSA has dropped seven of its last eight games. The Islanders dropped a 9-4 loss to the former Southland foe on March 13 at Chapman Field. The Islanders outhit UTSA 9-6 but a seven-run second inning by the Roadrunners helped lift the visitors to victory.
Siera Sproul leads UTSA with a .356 batting average and a team-high five home runs while Darian Blake is second on the team with a .352 batting average. Haylee Staton (9-8) leads the Roadrunners with 128 innings pitched, while posting a 2.73 ERA and a team-high 80 strikeouts. Alyssa Vordenbaum (8-8) is second with 51 strikeouts in 94.2 innings, while posting a 2.74 ERA.
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 (5-12) has been the Islanders go to pitcher in the circle this season with a 4.70 ERA in 107.1 innings. Brandenburg has tallied 44 strikeouts in a team-high 26 appearances (4th in SLC). The junior recorded a career-high nine strikeouts in a complete game strikeout, while allowing just one walk and four hits over Kansas.
Leadoff hitter Mickayla Cochran has been consistent for the Islanders this season. The sophomore leads the team with a .286 batting average in all 39 starts. She has a team-high 36 hits and has recorded five doubles to go along with a team-high four home runs. Cochran also has a team-high 22 runs and has posted 48 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. She recorded her fourth career homer in the Islanders victory over Sam Houston State.
Cassie Carroll stepped up for the Islanders over the weekend. The sophomore recorded three hits over the weekend while tallying 10 assists at third base. She is on a four-game hitting streak while Mickayla Cochran, Lindsey Lyles and Laura Phillips are all on a two-game hitting streak.
Senior Meagan McKinney leads by example on the field. The co-captain is second on the team with a .284 batting average and leads the team with 272 putouts at first base, which is good for third in the conference. Her 129 putouts in conference play ranks first along with her 137 chances in conference play. She is second on the team with 31 hits and leads the team with 19 RBI.
Co-captain junior Valerie Perez has been the vocal leader for the team this season along with McKinney. Perez has tallied 24 hits and a team-high six doubles this season in 35 games. She has also recorded 61 putouts at shortstop this season. The Islanders have won eight games when Perez has been in the starting lineup and 0-6 when the junior hasn't started or been in the game.
On Saturday against Sam Houston State, the junior stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the seventh with one out and cranked a two-run walk-off homer to lift the Islanders to a 6-5 victory. The win snapped a five-game losing skid and led the Islanders to its third conference victory of the season.
Sophomore Hayley Galloway has battled back from off-season surgery to record a .274 batting average. She has made starts in 37 of the Islanders 38 games and has a team-high eight sacrifice hits. Galloway has 29 hits and 67 putouts between second base and shortstop this season.
BEHIND THE PLATE
Michelle Sorenson has 102 putouts behind home plate this season and has caught a conference-high 15 stolen bases. She posted a .358 batting average while appearing in 43 of 51 games during the 2010-11 season at McLennan CC.
Head Coach Stephanie Hughes will face UTSA, a school she spent eight seasons with including seven as an assistant. She spent the 2011 season as the interim head coach of the Roadrunners. During Hughes' time as an assistant with UTSA, she helped the Roadrunners to three Southland Conference regular-season championships, including two tournament titles and two NCAA regional appearances. As the interim head coach she led the team to a 28-27 record, improving UTSA's win total by five games from the year before.
The Islanders will travel to Nacogdoches, Texas, for its final road trip of the season. The Islanders will face Stephen F. Austin in a three-game series starting on Saturday, April 20. The Islanders will face the Ladyjacks in a doubleheader on Saturday before wrapping the series on Sunday, April 21. The Islanders will then return home to Chapman Field for his final two conference series.