TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (4-14) VS. CENTRAL ARKANSAS (8-14) | CHAPMAN FIELD | CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS
GAME 1: Friday, March 7 • 1 p.m.
GAME 2: Friday, March 7 • 3 p.m.
GAME 3: Saturday, March 8 • 10 a.m.
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team will open Southland Conference play at Chapman Field on March 7 in a doubleheader against Central Arkansas at 1 p.m. The Islanders will wrap the three-game series on Saturday, March 8, at 10 a.m.
- The Islanders will host their first games of the season at Chapman Field on Friday after opening the season with their first 18 on the road.
- A&M - Corpus Christi leads the Southland Conference in hitting with a .323 batting average and a league-high 160 hits.
- Brittney Morse leads the Islanders' offense with a .407 batting average and a team-high four home runs.
- The Islanders' four wins this season have come against Southland foe Stephen F. Austin (5-2), New Mexico State (5-0), Bryant (9-6) and Connecticut (8-0).
- A&M - Corpus Christi has tallied seven double-figure hitting games this season, with their most hits coming against Iowa State (16) and Bryant (16).
- Liz Carter earned her fourth win of the season in the circle against Connecticut with her first one-hit shutout. She limited the Huskies to just one hit and one walk while recording a pair of strikeouts in six innings.
- In 18 games, the Islanders are just three home runs away from matching last years total of 16. The squad has 13 on the year, with Morse leading the pack with four. Mickayla Cochran and Valerie Perez have each cranked three on the year.
- Junior utility player Lindsey Lyles was tabbed Preseason Second Team All-Southland. She played in all 27-conference games last season while splitting time between third base, shortstop, second base and designed player.
- Assistant Coach Keith Stein joined the Islanders in November after spending the past year as a volunteer assistant coach for UTSA.
- Head Coach Stephanie Hughes enters her third season with the Islanders along with Pitching Coach Sarah Pauly.
IN THE CIRCLE
Liz Carter (4-6) recorded her first complete game victory against SFA, allowing just five hits, two runs and no walks in seven innings. Her second win of the season came against New Mexico State. The freshman limited the Aggies to just four hits while walking five and striking out two in seven innings. At the UTSA Mid-Major Classic, Carter secured her third win of the season against Bryant.
Last weekend, the Austin, Texas native was superb in the Islanders' circle earning her first one-hit shutout against Connecticut. After Connecticut recorded a hit in the top of the first, the freshman did not allow a hit through the final five innings.
Carter holds a 5.44 ERA in 13 appearances (T-2nd SLC) and 65.2 innings pitched (3rd SLC). Her team-high 33 strikeouts are good for ninth place in the league. Carter has started in 10 games (3rd SLC) while posting six complete games (T-2nd SLC).
Not only does Carter make her presence known in the circle, but she is also becoming a threat at the plate. At the Troy Cox Classic in Las Cruces, N.M., she made her first plate appearance against the Aggies. In the 5-0 win, Carter tallied her first career hit of the game through the middle and went 2-for-3 in the game with one run and an RBI. In the Islanders win over Connecticut, Carter was outstanding at the plate, going 2-for-3 with an RBI. This season, Carter is hitting .350 with seven hits, two runs and two RBIs.
Brittney Morse has quickly established herself as a power hitter since arriving at the Island University. The freshman is hitting .407 (7th SLC) and has tallied 22 hits (T-4th SLC) in all 18 games. Her team-high .704 slugging percentage ranks fifth in the conference and she leads the team with four home runs (T-6th SLC). After recording nine total bases over the weekend, she is tied for third in the league with a team-high 38 total bases.
Dani Tefft had an impressive five games at the Troy Cox Classic going 10-for-16 for a conference-leading .625 batting average. This season, the lefty has picked up a team-best four stolen bases while hitting .382 in 18 games. She is third on the team in hits with 21 (T-6th SLC) and second in runs with 13. The Sugar Land, Texas native is tied for second in the league with a team-best two triples.
Senior Valerie Perez led the offense with eight hits and seven RBIs in five games at the UTSA Mid-Major Classic. Against Bryant she hit a three-run homer to help lift the Islanders to a 9-6 victory. Perez also tacked on four runs and 11 total bases while hitting .444. For the weekend, she recorded a .611 slugging percentage and a .500 on-base percentage.
In the loss against Wisconsin on Saturday at the Texas A&M Invitational, Perez had her best game of the weekend, going 2-for-3.
The Corpus Christi native is tied for second in the conference with a team-high 23 hits and ranks eighth in the conference with a .404 batting average. She is tied with Morse with four doubles and second with 38 total bases (T-6th SLC). Perez is second on the team with a .632 slugging percentage (T-9th SLC).
Junior Hayley Galloway is on a four-game hitting streak while Brittney Morse is on a three-game hitting streak and Mickayla Cochran and Natalie Zarzabal are all on a two-game hitting streak. The longest hitting streaks of the season go to Cochran and freshman Mackinzee Griebel, who both put together a seven-game hitting streak.
RUNS RUNS RUNS
Seniors Valerie Perez and J.J. Jackson along with freshman Brittney Morse have combined for 38 of the teams' 71 RBIs.
The Islanders welcome seven newcomers this season, including six freshmen and one junior transfer. Joining Carter and Morse are Mackinzee Griebel (Lockhart, Texas), Katie Blanar (Pearland,Texas) and utility player Jessica Mendez (Corpus Christi, Texas). Griebel is hitting .268 and has recorded six RBIs and 17 total bases in 18 starts. Blanar (0-3) adds depth to the Islanders' pitching staff while Mendez adds speed to the Islanders' offense and outfield. Rounding out the freshman class is Emma Stipe (Round Rock, Texas) who will redshirt this season. Joining the junior class is Cassidy Ivy (Huntington, Texas). She comes to the Island University after playing two seasons at Angelina JC. In her first career at bat against Southern Illinois, Ivy blasted a two RBI home run over the right field wall. Ivy is hitting .200 and has chipped in four RBIs in eight games.
SCOUTING CENTRAL ARKANSAS
The Bears come into the weekend with an 8-14 record after compiling a 2-3 record at the USF-Under Armour Invitational with wins against Western Michigan and Temple University. This season Central Arkansas has picked up wins against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Valparaiso, Alabama State and University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
After tallying a 38-20 record last season, the Bears feature a young squad this season with seven freshmen and just one senior. Without 2013 Southland Pitcher of the Year Kelsie Armstrong the Bears will rely on top pitchers Ciara Clampitt (2-5), Kylee Studioso (4-4), and Kayla Gomness (1-4).
The Bears were selected to finish fourth in the conference in both the coaches and the sports information director preseason polls after finishing with a SLC record of 15-10 last season. Briana Whisenhunt is hitting .389 to lead the offense and Bailey Reynolds is close behind with a .364 batting average. In the circle, Clampitt (2-5) holds a 3.86 ERA in 45.1 innings, while Studioso has tallied a team-high 54 strikeouts in 44.2 innings.
SERIES HISTORY: The Islanders and Bears will meet for the 20th time in program history on Friday. A&M - Corpus Christi leads the all-time series 12-7. Last season, the Islanders clinched the series on senior day. The two teams split the doubleheader on May 4 before the Islanders garnered a 6-5 victory on May 5 in the final game of the season.
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Following Saturday's game, the Islanders will head back out on the road for their next six games. First up is a non-conference doubleheader on Tuesday, March 11, at Texas State. The Islanders will then continue conference play at Northwestern State on March 15-16 before taking on UTSA in a single game on March 19.
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