TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (7-20, 2-4 SLC) VS. MCNEESE STATE (18-9, 4-2 SLC) | CHAPMAN FIELD | CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS
GAME 1: Saturday, March 22 • 1 p.m. • Middle School & High School Day
GAME 2: Saturday, March 22 • 3 p.m.
GAME 3: Sunday, March 23 • 12 p.m. • Strikeout Breast Cancer Pink Game • Junior USSSA Pride Day
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team will host McNeese State in a three-game conference series starting on Saturday, March 22. The first pitch of the doubleheader is slated for 1 p.m. with the series set to conclude on Sunday, March 23, at 12 p.m. in the Strikeout Breast Cancer Pink Game.
IN THE CIRCLE
Liz Carter (6-9) has picked up all but one 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.
At Texas State, Carter limited the Bobcats to just three hits and did not allow a run to help propel the Islanders to a 2-0 victory.
Carter holds a 5.36 ERA in 20 appearances and 99.1 innings pitched. Carter has started in 16 games while posting nine complete games and a team-best 49 strikeouts.
Not only does Carter make her presence known in the circle, but she is also 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.
Against Central Arkansas, 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 .378 to go along with 14 hits, three runs and four RBIs in 37 at bats.
Brittney Morse has established herself as a power hitter since arriving at the Island University. The freshman is hitting .343 with 24 hits in 23 of the Islanders 27 games. Her has a team-high .629 slugging percentage and leads the team with five home runs.
Dani Tefft could arguably be the Islanders most improved played from a year ago. This season the sophomore leads the Islanders with a .367 batting average and is second on the team with 29 hits while starting in all 27 games. Flashback to a year ago, Tefft tallied a .224 batting average and 28 hits in 48 games. This season, she has a team-high seven stolen bases which matches her total from last season. Tefft has already past her runs total of 18 from a year ago with 19 this season. Her two triples are good for a tie in third place in the conference and 59th in the nation.
Tefft had an impressive five games at the Troy Cox Classic going 10-for-16 for a conference-leading .625 batting average. In conference play, Tefft put together a superb weekend at Northwestern State. The Sugar Land, Texas native went a perfect 3-for-3 and scored twice in the opening game to help lift the Islanders to a 10-9 victory. In the final two games, she went 3-for-7 to extend her hitting streak to four games. For the weekend, Tefft hit .600 to go along with a .600 slugging percentage and a .600 on-base percentage.
Senior Valerie Perez is second on the team with a .361 batting average and has tallied a team-high 30 hits. Perez has also drilled a team-best six doubles and 50 total bases. Her .602 slugging percentage is second on the team and she has also chipped in a team-best 21 RBIs.
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 25 hits and three home runs. Jackson is second on the team with 20 RBIs (T-9th SLC) and is fifth on the team with a .325 batting average.
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.
Utility player Jessica Mendez (Corpus Christi, Texas) returned to the Islanders lineup on Wednesday at UTSA after missing the beginning of the season with a wrist injury. After pinch running in four games, Mendez made her first career start at second base against the Roadrunners and also made her first plate appearance of the season. In her first career at bat, the freshman was hit by the pitch before recording her first hit with a single to right field in her next at bat.
Freshman Katie Blanar (1-3) earned her first collegiate victory in the Islanders' circle in the opening game at Northwestern State. The Pearland, Texas native was solid after coming in relief for Liz Carter and Constance Brandenburg. Blanar allowed just two hits and didn't allow a run while collecting three strikeouts in three innings. This season, Blanar has started in three games while appearing in 14 and registering 10 strikeouts in 32.2 innings.
Dani Tefft is on a five-game hitting streak while Liz Carter is on a four-game hitting streak. Valerie Perez comes into Saturday's game on a two-game hitting streak while Mickayla Cochran and Jessica Mendez are each 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 55 of the teams' 96 RBIs while Morse, Perez, Dani Tefft and Mickayla Cochran have registered 63 of the Islanders' 104 runs.
The Islanders welcome seven newcomers this season, including six freshmen and one junior transfer. Joining Carter, Morse, Blanar and Mendez is Mackinzee Griebel (Lockhart, Texas) and Emma Stipe (Round Rock, Texas). Griebel is hitting .238 and has recorded 19 hits, six RBIs and 21 total bases in 27 starts in right field while Stipe will redshirt this season. Joining the junior class is Cassidy Ivy (Huntington, Texas). She arrived at 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 .125 and has chipped in four RBIs in 11 games.
SCOUTING THE COWGIRLS
McNeese State comes into the weekend with an 18-9 record after winning its last five out of six games. The Cowgirls hold a 4-2 mark in Southland Conference play after securing the series over Houston Baptist and Sam Houston State. This season, McNeese State has also picked up wins against Alabama-Birmingham, Austin Peay, Syracuse, Texas A&M, Oregon State, Stephen F. Austin, Virginia Tech, Central Florida, Alabama, Wichita State, North Texas and Florida International.
As a team the Cowgirls are hitting .269 while holding their opponents to a .230 batting average. Marisa Taunton is hitting .412 in just 18 games while Lauren Langer has tallied a team-high 34 hits for a .386 batting average. In the circle, Jamie Allred (11-4) leads the pitchers with a 2.06 ERA in 18 appearances and 14 starts.
SERIES HISTORY: The Islanders and Cowgirls will meet for the 33rd time in program history on Saturday. Both teams have picked up 16 wins apiece in the all-time series.
Tickets for the Islanders Softball season can be purchased online HERE or by calling 825-BALL (2255).
Following Sunday's game, the Islanders will travel to Austin to take on the Texas Longhorns on Wednesday, March 26, at 7 p.m. The game will be shown live on the Texas Longhorn Network.
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