TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (10-30, 5-12 SLC) AT LAMAR (19-18, 12-5 SLC) | FORD PARK | BEAUMONT, TEXAS | TWITTER: @IslandersSball
GAME 1: Friday, April 18 • 4 p.m. • LIVE STATS
GAME 2: Friday, April 18 • 6 p.m. • LIVE STATS
GAME 3: Saturday, April 19 • 2 p.m. • LIVE STATS
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team will look to build off of their first conference series victory last weekend when they travel to Beaumont, Texas, to take on Lamar in a three-game series. The Islanders will open the series on Friday, April 18. The first pitch of the doubleheader is slated for 4 p.m. with the series set to conclude on Saturday, April 19, at 2 p.m. at Ford Park.
- The Islanders have won three of their last five conference matches and are coming off a series victory over Stephen F. Austin.
- The Islanders earned a 2-1 victory in the opening game against the Ladyjacks before garnering a 3-1 win in the second game to clinch the series.
- The Islanders have compiled a 10-30 record this season, including a 5-12 record in conference play.
- The Islanders have tallied 291 hits so far this season, just 14 hits shy of their total of 305 from last year.
- A&M - Corpus Christi has four players hitting over .300 with three leading the pack with a team-high 38 hits. Brittney Morse, Dani Tefft and Valerie Perez have each chipped in 38 hits this season.
- Morse leads the Islanders with a .333 batting average and a team-high seven home runs, which is the most by an Islander since 2011.
- Liz Carter leads the Islanders in conference play with a .406 batting average.
- Tefft has collected a season-high 10 stolen bases this season, passing her total of seven last season. She is just now one stolen base away from breaking into the Islanders career top-10 and tying Andrea Simancas' record of 18 from 2006-09.
- J.J. Jackson is just six RBIs shy of breaking into the Islanders career top-10 list. She currently has 59 career RBIs.
- Constance Brandenburg picked up her first win of the season in the second game on Saturday against the Ladyjacks.
- The Islanders' 10 wins this season have come against Stephen F. Austin (three times), New Mexico State, Bryant, Connecticut, Central Arkansas, Texas State, Northwestern State, Nicholls.
- A&M - Corpus Christi has tallied 10 double-figure hitting games this season, with their most hits (16) coming against Iowa State, Bryant and Northwestern State.
- Carter has earned eight of the Islanders' eight wins this season in the circle.
- The Islanders passed their 16 home runs from a year ago 26 games into this season. The squad has 19 on the year, with Perez hitting the 17th one at Northwestern State. Morse leads the pack with seven while Perez has four and Cochran and Jackson have each cranked three on the year.
- Junior utility player Lindsey Lyles was tabbed Preseason Second Team All-Southland.
- 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 (8-16) has posted eight of the Islanders' victories this season and has been a consistent leader in the 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 the Huskies 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.
The freshman recorded a career-high eight strikeouts in her 21st start in the Islanders' circle against UTSA.
She holds a 5.11 ERA in 29 appearances (1st SLC) and 157.2 innings (2nd SLC) pitched. Carter has started in 24 games (1st SLC), just three games shy of breaking into the Islanders top 10 for a single season. She has also posted 15 complete games (T-1st SLC), which ties Elena Crabtree's single-season record from 2010 for ninth in the Islanders top 10 records. Carter has registered a team-best 79 strikeouts (6th SLC).
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 .344 to go along with 22 hits, five runs and six RBIs in 64 at bats. In conference play, she leads the team with a .406 batting average and has tallied 13 hits in 32 at bats.
Brittney Morse has established herself as a power hitter since arriving at the Island University. The freshman is hitting a team-high .333 with 38 hits in 36 of the Islanders' 40 games. She has a team-high .588 slugging percentage and a team-best 67 total bases, while leading the team with seven home runs, which is the most by an Islander since Brittany Tucker tallied seven in 2011. Morse joins Tucker and three other former Islanders with seven on the single-season top 10 list. She cranked her seventh homer of the season at Abilene Christian in the final game of the series.
Morse led the Islanders' bats against UTSA in a midweek series at Chapman Field. She went 3-for-4 and chipped in a RBI.
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 second on the team with a .328 batting average and has recorded a team-high 38 hits while starting in all 40 games. Flashback to a year ago, Tefft tallied a .224 batting average and 28 hits in 48 games.
This season, Tefft has collected a season-high 10 stolen bases (T-5th SLC), passing her total of seven last season. She is just now one stolen base away from breaking into the Islanders career top-10 and tying Andrea Simancas' record of 18 from 2006-09. Tefft is also two stolen bases shy of breaking into the top 10 for a single-season.
The Sugar Land, Texas native has already passed her runs total of 18 from a year ago with a team-high 22 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, 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 with a .306 batting average and a team-best 38 hits while starting in all 40 games this season. Perez has also drilled a team-best nine doubles (T-7th SLC), which is just three away from matching the Islanders top-10 record for a single season and in a career. She has collected 61 total bases and her 23 RBIs are 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 leader for the Islanders' offense this season. In her first three years, she tallied 54 hits and one home run. This season, the Desoto, Texas, native has registered 30 hits and three home runs. Jackson leads the team with 27 RBIs, which is just six RBIs shy of breaking into the Islanders career top 10 list. The senior currently has 59 career runs batted in and is fifth on the team with a .278 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.
At Abilene Christian in the final game of the series, Jackson went 2-for-2 with three RBIs to help the Islanders force extra innings.
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 four games while appearing in 18 and registering 11 strikeouts in 41.0 innings.
RUNS RUNS RUNS
Seniors Valerie Perez and J.J. Jackson along with freshman Brittney Morse have combined for 69 of the teams' 120 RBIs while Morse, Perez, Dani Tefft and Mickayla Cochran have registered 76 of the Islanders' 131 runs.
The Islanders put together back-to-back double-figure hitting games at Nicholls for a combined 21 hits in the two games. The Islanders are 5-5 when recording 10 or more hits in a game.
Several Islanders rank in the top 10 of many statistical categories in conference games only. Mickayla Cochran is tied for the conference lead with a team-best two triples. Liz Carter is third in innings pitched with 68 and is tied for most appearances in the circle with 12. Carter is also tied for second in games started with 10, and tied for fifth with 30 strikeouts. J.J. Jackson holds a team-high 13 RBIs (T-8th SLC) in conference play for the Islanders, while Dani Tefft has registered a team-best 14 hits.
SCOUTING THE LADY CARDINALS
Lamar comes into Friday's doubleheader with a 19-18 record and a 12-5 mark in the Southland Conference after picking up the series over Abilene Christian last weekend.
As a team the Lady Cardinals are hitting .294 and are powered by Beverly Corry, who leads the team with a .337 batting average and seven home runs. In the circle, Tina Schulz (8-9) leads the pitchers with a 3.78 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 109.1 innings and 20 starts. Shannon Millman (8-9) has appeared in 21 games and holds a 4.42 ERA in 90.1 innings.
SERIES HISTORY: The Islanders and Lady Cardinals will meet for just the fourth time in program history in the opening game on Friday. Lamar, who brought back their softball program last season, leads the all-time series 3-0. Last season, the Islanders dropped all three games of the series in Beaumont.
Following Saturday's game, the Islanders will travel to College Station, Texas, to take on Texas A&M in a doubleheader on Tuesday, April 22. The first pitch is slated for 4 p.m.
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