Softball Hits the Road for Conference Series at Abilene Christian
TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (7-24, 2-7 SLC) AT ABILENE CHRISTIAN (12-18, 1-2 SLC) | POLY WELLS FIELD | ABILENE, TEXAS | TWITTER
GAME 1: Saturday, March 29 • 2 p.m. • LIVE STATS
GAME 2: Saturday, March 29 • 4 p.m. • LIVE STATS
GAME 3: Sunday, March 30 • 1 p.m. • LIVE STATS
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team will head to Abilene, Texas, to face first-year Southland Conference member Abilene Christian in a three-game series. First pitch of the doubleheader is slated for Saturday, March 29, at 2 p.m. with the series set to conclude on Sunday, March 30, at 1 p.m. at Poly Wells Field.
- The Islanders will look to snap a seven-game losing streak this weekend when they continue Southland play at ACU.
- A&M - Corpus Christi has compiled a 2-7 record in conference play and a 7-24 overall record after a tough 8-0 loss to Texas on Wednesday.
- The Islanders and Wildcats will meet for the first time in program history on Saturday.
- As a team the Islanders are hitting .287, which is good for fifth place in the Southland.
- The Islanders have tallied 235 hits so far this season, just 70 hits shy of their total of 305 from last year.
- A&M - Corpus Christi has five players hitting over .300 with senior Valerie Perez leading the pack with 33 hits and a team-best .351 batting average.
- Brittney Morse is right behind Perez with a .341 batting average and a team-high six home runs, which is the most by an Islander since 2011.
- Mickayla Cochran is tied for 20th place in the nation with a league and team-best three triples on the year.
- The Islanders' seven 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), Texas State (2-0) and Northwestern State (10-9).
- A&M - Corpus Christi has tallied eight double-figure hitting games this season, with their most hits (16) coming against Iowa State, Bryant and Northwestern State.
- Liz Carter has earned six of the Islanders' seven wins this season in the circle.
- The Islanders surpassed their 16 home runs from a year ago 26 games into this season. The squad has 18 on the year, with Valerie Perez hitting the 17th one at Northwestern State. Brittney Morse leads the pack with six while Valerie Perez has four and Mickayla Cochran 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. She cranked her first home run of the season at Northwestern State.
- 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 (6-12) 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 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 5.90 ERA in 23 appearances and 115.0 innings pitched. Carter has started in 19 games, just eight games shy of breaking into the Islanders top 10 for a single season. She has also posted 10 complete games and a team-best 53 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.
In Southland play 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 .356 to go along with 16 hits, four runs and four RBIs in 45 at bats. In conference play, she leads the team with a .471 batting average and has matched a team-high eight hits in 17 at bats.
Brittney Morse has established herself as a power hitter since arriving at the Island University. The freshman is hitting .341 with 28 hits in 27 of the Islanders' 31 games. She has a team-high .634 slugging percentage and leads the team with six home runs.
The Yuma, Ariz. native led the Islanders against McNeese State with a .400 batting average to go along with a .800 slugging percentage. After drilling her sixth homer of the season in the opening game, she went 2-for-4 in the final game of the series while adding a run.
Dani Tefft could arguably be the Islanders most improved played from a year ago. This season the sophomore is third on the team with a .330 batting average and is second on the team with 30 hits while starting in all 31 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 is just now four stolen bases away from breaking into the Islanders career top-10 and tying Andrea Simancas' record of 18 from 2006-09. The Sugar Land, Texas native has already past her runs total of 18 from a year ago with a team-high 20 this season.
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. She 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 has been the Islanders' offensive spark this season and is on a two-game hitting streak. She leads the team with a .351 batting average and a team-best 33 hits while starting in all 31 games this season. Perez has also drilled a team-best seven doubles and has collected a team-high 54 total bases. Her .574 slugging percentage and 21 RBIs are both second on the team.
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 registered 26 hits and three home runs. Jackson leads the team with 22 RBIs and is fifth on the team with a .295 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 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.
Mendez followed her performance with her first stolen base of her career against McNeese State and started at second base on Wednesday at Texas for her fifth start of the season.
LEFTY CHANGE UP
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 16 and registering 10 strikeouts in 35.0 innings.
Valerie Perez and Mickayla Cochran, who both picked up a hit against Texas on Wednesday, are on a two-game hitting streak. The longest hitting streaks of the season go to Cochran and 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 58 of the teams' 101 RBIs while Morse, Perez, Dani Tefft and Mickayla Cochran have registered 66 of the Islanders' 110 runs.
The Islanders' roster is made up of 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 .233 and has recorded 21 hits, six RBIs and 23 total bases in 28 starts in right field and three in center 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 .130 and has chipped in five RBIs in 15 games.
Several Islanders rank in the top 10 of many statistical categories in conference play. Mickayla Cochran has tallied a conference best two triples. Liz Carter ranks third in innings pitched with 32.1 innings and joins Katie Blanar with the most appearances in the circle with seven. Carter is tied for the conference lead in games started with six starts. Mickayla Cochran holds a .300 team-high batting average in conference play for the Islanders while Valerie Perez and Carter have each registered a team-best eight hits apiece. J.J. Jackson leads the team with eight RBIs.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
Abilene Christian comes into the weekend with a 12-18 record, including a 1-2 mark in Southland play. The Wildcats are coming off a 5-1 victory over Hardin-Simmons on Tuesday. This season, the team has picked up wins against Texas Lutheran, Oklahoma Christian, Prairie View A&M, Rhode Island, UT Arlington and Incarnate Word in conference play. The Wildcats dropped the series against the Cardinals before garnering a 3-0 victory in the final game.
As a team, the Wildcats are hitting a conference best .322 while holding their opponents to a .293 batting average. Ashley Nolan is hitting .456 while Taylor Brown is batting .417 to go along with 30 hits. Lyndi Smith has tallied a team-best 33 hits and 28 RBIs, while hitting .344 on the year.
In the circle, the Wildcats depend on three pitchers to get the job done. Hannah Null (7-6) leads the pitchers with a 2.73 ERA in 18 appearances and 14 starts. Emily Seidel (2-3) has appeared in 15 games for a 5.65 ERA and Peyton Mosley (3-9) rounds out the staff with a 6.11 ERA in 11 starts and 18 appearances.
SERIES HISTORY: The Islanders and Wildcats will meet for the first time in program history on Saturday.
Following Sunday's game, the Islanders will return home to host UTSA on Wednesday, April 2, in a single game starting at 3 p.m. at Chapman Field.
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