No. 3 Texas A&M To Battle The Nation’s Best In The Kajikawa Classic

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COLLEGE STATION -- The third-ranked Texas A&M softball team will be pitted against some of the toughest competition in the nation this weekend when it travels to Tempe, Ariz. for the Kajikawa Classic.

Fans can listen to this weekend’s games on free of charge through Aggies All-Access. A&M’s games against No. 1 Arizona, No. 6 Northwestern, and No. 15 Washington will be broadcast live on1150 AM The Zone with play-by-play from Louie Belina and color commentary from Stephen Grove.

“We will have the opportunity once again to compete against some of the best teams in the nation,” A&M head coach Jo Evans said. “It is important for our team to welcome the challenge of competing against great teams and to build on the confidence we can gain from beating the best. This tournament always prepares us down the road to face the elite teams in the Big 12 Conference and to deal with the pressures of playing against great competition.”

The Aggies will play five games in three days, with doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday and a single game on Sunday. Four of the Aggies’ five opponents were NCAA participants last season with three making an appearance in the Women’s College World Series and Arizona winning its second-consecutive national championship.

A&M will open tournament play on Friday against Nevada at 2 p.m. The Wolf Pack went 3-2 at the Freeway Series last weekend in Los Angeles and Fullerton, Calif. to open their 2008 season. Nevada dropped its first game of the tourney 10-1 to No. 10 UCLA before winning three of its next four. The Wolf Pack suffered a 1-0 loss to No. 5 Oklahoma between their pair of 5-4 wins over UC Santa Barbara and No. 21 Cal State Fullerton and closed out their stint in the Golden State with an 8-0 victory over Santa Clara.

Friday’s game marks just the third meeting between the two teams with A&M holding the all-time series lead at 2-0. The two schools last met in 2006 at the Kajikawa Classic with the Aggies winning 5-4.

The Aggies meet No. 6 Northwestern at 4:30 p.m. to close out Friday action. The Wildcats are coming off their second-consecutive final four appearance at the WCWS in 2007.

Friday’s match-up serves as the seventh meeting between the two schools and the first game of the year for Northwestern, who finished 52-13 last season. A&M defeated the Wildcats 4-3 last year in the Kajikawa Classic on a Jamie Hinshaw two-run walk-off blast to bring the all-time series lead to 4-2 in favor of A&M.

A&M faces off against top-ranked Arizona on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Wildcats, who open their 2008 season this weekend, captured their second-consecutive national title in 2007 finishing with an overall record of 50-14-1. The two teams are no strangers having played one another four times last season. Megan Gibson’s two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh put A&M on the winning side of a, 3-2, decision at the Kajikawa, before Arizona took two of three from A&M back in Tucson.

The Wildcats are the all-time series leader at 23-7.

A&M rounds out Day 2 action against Notre Dame at 6:30 p.m. The Fighting Irish is coming off a 32-24 finish in 2007, which saw them make their ninth consecutive NCAA appearance.

The Ags own the all-time series lead at 4-1 after a 2-1 win on Mar. 13, 2004 at the Democrat Invitational in Tallahassee, Fla.

The Aggies close out Kajikawa play against ‘07 WCWS participant No. 15 Washington at noon on Sunday. The Huskies participated in the Sportco Spring Kickoff Classic last weekend in Las Vegas, Nev. going 2-1-1. Washington opened the tournament with 3-0 and 8-1 wins over Loyola Chicago and Texas Tech, respectively before falling to UNLV, 7-4, and the Canadian National Team, 7-3 in an exhibition game. The Huskies ended in a 4-4 draw against UNLV on Sunday due to a prearranged stop time.

Washington holds a 4-2 all-time series lead over the Aggies. A&M won the last meeting, 5-4, over a then No. 14 Washington 4-1 in 2006 at the Judy Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif.

A&M improved to 5-1 after shutting out Sam Houston State, 6-0, on Wednesday at the Aggie Softball Complex. Senior All-American Amanda Scarborough threw her third career no-hitter retiring the last 19 batters she faced, striking out five and surrendering just one walk.

The Aggies return home for a doubleheader against Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday Feb. 20. First pitch of game one is scheduled for 3 p.m.

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