TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (6-17, 1-2 SLC) AT NORTHWESTERN STATE (10-10, 2-1 SLC) | LADY DEMON DIAMOND | NATCHITOCHES, LA.
GAME 1: Saturday, March 15 • 12 p.m.
GAME 2: Saturday, March 15 • 2 p.m.
GAME 3: Sunday, March 16 • 12 p.m.
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team will open Southland Conference road play this weekend in a three-game series at Northwestern State. The Islanders will take on the Lady Demons in a doubleheader on Saturday, March 15 starting at 12 p.m. The Islanders will wrap the three-game series on Sunday, March 16, at 12 p.m.
- The Islanders are coming off a non-conference split with Texas State on Tuesday.
- In their first conference series last weekend, the Islanders went 1-2 against Central Arkansas in their home opener.
- A&M - Corpus Christi is third in the Southland Conference in hitting with a .300 batting average, just behind Sam Houston State, who is hitting .302 as a team, and Abilene Christian who is leading the conference with a .332 batting average.
- The Islanders are third in the conference with 185 hits. Seven of those hits have been triples, which is good for second in the league.
- Valerie Perez leads the Islanders' offense with a .357 batting average (T-10th SLC) and a team-high 25 hits (10th SLC).
- The Islanders' six wins this season have come against Stephen F. Austin (5-2), New Mexico State (5-0), Bryant (9-6), Connecticut (8-0), Central Arkansas (2-1) and Texas State (2-0).
- 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 sixth win of the season in the circle against Texas State in the second game of the doubleheader. She allowed just three hits in her eighth complete game.
- In 23 games, the Islanders are just one home run away from matching last years total of 16. The squad has 15 on the year, with Morse leading the pack with five. Mickayla Cochran, Perez and J.J. Jackson 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 is in her third season with the Islanders along with Pitching Coach Sarah Pauly.
IN THE CIRCLE
Liz Carter (6-7) has picked up all of the Islanders victories this season and has been a consistent leader in the Islanders circle this season. She 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.
At the Texas A&M Invitational, Carter 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. The Austin, Texas native registered her first career conference victory on Friday against Central Arkansas after allowing just five hits and one run while walking three and striking out two Bears in seven innings.
On Tuesday, Carter limited Texas State to just three hits and did not allow a run to help propel the Islanders to a 2-0 victory.
Carter holds a 4.91 ERA in 17 appearances (3rd SLC) and 87 innings pitched (3rd SLC). Her team-high 40 strikeouts are good for ninth place in the league. Carter has started in 13 games (T-2nd SLC) while posting eight complete games. Her six wins in the Islander's circle are tied for third in the conference.
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.
Over the weekend, Carter put together a solid outing, going 3-for-4 with a double and four total bases. She tallied a .750 batting average while registering a .800 on-base percentage and a 1.000 slugging percentage.
This season, Carter is hitting .370 to go along with 10 hits, three runs and three RBIs in 27 at bats.
Brittney Morse has quickly established herself as a power hitter since arriving at the Island University. The freshman is hitting .343 (15th SLC) and has tallied 24 hits (T-13th SLC) in all 23 games. Her team-high .629 slugging percentage ranks sixth in the conference and she leads the team with five home runs (T-6th SLC). Her team-best 44 total bases are tied for fifth in the conference.
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 six stolen bases (T-5th SLC) while hitting .328 in 23 games. She has tallied 22 hits and is second on the team in runs with 15 (T-8th SLC). The Sugar Land, Texas native is tied for third in the league with a team-best two triples.
Senior Valerie Perez leads the Islanders with a .357 batting average (10th SLC) and is tied for 10th in the conference with a team-high 25 hits. Perez is tied with Morse with a team-best five doubles and second on the team with 41 total bases (T-9th SLC). Her .586 slugging percentage is good for 15th place in the conference.
The Corpus Christi native 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.
J.J. Jackson has been a consistent leader for the Islanders' offense this season. In her first three years, the senior tallied 54 hits and one home run. This season, the Desoto, Texas, native has already registered 23 hits and three home runs. On Tuesday at Texas State, Jackson cranked a two-run home run in the second game to power the Islanders to a 2-0 victory.
Prior to that, Jackson led the Islanders' bats against Central Arkansas with four hits, including her second double of the season, and a team-best four RBIs. Jackson went 1-for-2 with an RBI single to help the Islanders to a 2-1 victory over UCA in the conference opener. For the weekend, she collected five total bases to go along with a .556 slugging percentage and a .500 on-base percentage.
Mickayla Cochran is on a three-game hitting streak while Hayley Galloway, J.J. Jackson and Dani Tefft are all on a one-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 46 of the teams' 82 RBIs while Morse, Dani Tefft and Mickayla Cochran have registered 44 of the Islanders' 89 runs.
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 .235 and has recorded 16 hits, six RBIs and 18 total bases in 23 starts in right field. 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 .154 and has chipped in four RBIs in 10 games.
SCOUTING THE LADY DEMONS
Northwestern State comes into the weekend with a 10-10 record after dropping three of its last five games. This season, the Lady Demons have picked up wins against Troy, Mississippi Valley State, Butler, Middle Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech, Creighton and Houston Baptist. In conference play, Northwestern State holds a 2-1 record have securing the series win against Houston Baptist at home. As a team the Lady Demons are hitting .272 while holding their opponents to a .265 batting average.
Cassandra Barefield is hitting .393 to lead the offense while Tara McKenney is close behind with 21 hits on the year for a .318 batting average. In the circle, Northwestern State depends on three pitchers to get the job done. Shelby Sells (3-4) has registered the most innings with 48 and holds a team-best 2.77 ERA in 10 appearances. Kaylee Guidry (3-2) has also appeared in 10 games while recording a 4.14 ERA in 25.1 innings. Rounding out the staff is Skylar Cagle with a 4.38 ERA in a team-high 11 appearances and 30.1 innings.
SERIES HISTORY: The Islanders and Lady Demons will meet for the 22nd time in program history on Saturday. The Islanders lead the all-time series 13-8. Last season the Islanders dropped all three games to NSU at home.
Following Sunday's game, the Islanders will wrap their six-game road swing when they travel to San Antonio on Wednesday, March 19, to face UTSA in non-conference play. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. at Roadrunner Field.
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