COLLEGE STATION, Texas- The third-ranked Texas A&M softball team returns to action this weekend when it hosts the Aggie Classic presented by Honeybaked Ham and Café. A&M will kick-off tournament play Thursday against BYU. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Aggie Softball Complex.
Live stats of all of the weekend’s games will be available on aggieathletics.com. Fans can listen to all the tournament action live and free of charge on aggieathletics.com through the new Aggies All-Access.
“We have a great group of teams in our tournament this weekend, A&M head coach Jo Evans said. “Two of the teams were NCAA tournament teams last year and will pose great competition. BYU has a great hitting team, ULL has one of the best young pitchers in the country and Illinois always has a potent offense. Our team is playing well and I look forward to competing for the tournament championship.”
Over the course of the four-day tournament, the Aggies will play five games. Following their opening game on Thursday, A&M will take on No. 18 Louisiana-Lafayette and BYU again Friday at 3 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. respectively. Saturday the Aggies will face-off opposite Illinois at 3 p.m. and ULL again at 5:15 p.m. Tournament play concludes Sunday when Illinois and ULL meet at 10 a.m.
BYU (11-7) took part in the Wilson/Demarini Invitational in Tempe, Ariz. last weekend sweeping its opening games over Drake, 2-1, and Creighton, 1-0 on Friday, before dropping two games Saturday to Creighton, 10-1, and then No. 2 Arizona State, 8-2.
As a team, the Cougars are batting .294 on the year with 21 home runs, hitting at least one home run in 15 of their 18 games.
From the circle, BYU is led by Christina Gwyn Trice. The senior maintains a 1.15 ERA and is 5-2 on the season with 88 strikeouts.
Thursday's game will mark the seventh meeting between Texas A&M and BYU. The Aggies are the all-time series leader at 4-2. The two schools last met in 2005 at the Texas A&M Invitational. A&M won the first game 3-2 and BYU took the second 8-0.
Louisiana-Lafayette enters this weekend’s tournament with an overall record of 12-3 after sweeping its doubleheader with Nicholls State (11-3, 12-0) on Tuesday. Prior to Tuesday’s match-up, the Ragin’ Cajuns posted a 2-3 record at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga. last weekend. ULL collected wins over North Carolina (7-1) and Tennessee Tech (8-0), while suffering 1-3, 1-2, and 0-9 losses to Nebraska, Iowa, and Michigan, respectively.
Senior Holly Tankersley is hitting a .383 clip, driving in a team-leading 23 RBIs off 18 hits, including a double, a triple, and seven homeruns.
Ashley Brignac carries a 1.40 ERA on the mound for ULL. The freshman owns an 8-2 record, striking out 78 hitters in 65 innings of work.
The all-time series record between the two schools sits deadlocked at 10-10 since they last met at the Verizon Aggie Invitational II in 2002 in College Station. A&M defeated a then No. 19 ULL, 3-2.
Although they have not faced A&M in five seasons, the Ragin’ Cajuns are no strangers to the Aggie Softball Complex. ULL was one of four teams to play in the College Station Regional last season along with Texas A&M, Sam Houston State, and the University of Houston.
Illinois improved to 12-8 after going 4-1 at the Miken Classic held in Boca Raton, Fla. last weekend. The Fighting Illini won four-straight over Rutgers (11-1), Central Michigan (7-3), Bethune Cookman (8-0) and Florida Atlantic (4-0) before falling in their final game, 3-2, to FAU.
Shanna Diller leads Illinois at the plate, hitting .367 on the season. The senior has scored 12 runs of 22 hits, including a team-leading nine doubles and three homeruns. She’s also tied for second on the team in RBI with 14.
In the circle for Illinois, Claire Devreese is 9-5 on the year with a 1.66 ERA. The senior has tossed two complete-game shutouts, striking out 66 in 80.1 innings of work.
A&M enters this weekend’s tournament with an overall record of 22-3 after a 4-1 showing at the NFCA Leadoff Classic last weekend. The Aggies posted wins over No. 19 DePaul (8-0), Georgia Tech (2-0), Florida State (7-0) and North Carolina State (4-0) while suffering a 4-1 loss to UMass.
Senior Jamie Hinshaw is currently third on the team in batting with a .347 average. The third baseman has scored 16 runs off 25 hits, including five doubles while driving in 10 RBIs. The Missouri City, Texas-native sits fifth in the Big 12 for stolen bases at a perfect 9-for-9.
Senior All-American Megan Gibson was recently selected USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week and Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Week for the week of February 25-March 2. The Spring, Texas-native made four starts this week, earning wins over No. 14 Houston, No. 19 DePaul, Florida State and NC State. Gibson logged 30 strikeouts in 27 innings of work, dropping her overall ERA from 1.12 to 0.73. She also increased her innings without an earned run to 31.1. At the plate, she hit .300 with four RBI and added a home run to make her the Big 12 career leader (48). Gibson’s two doubles put her in a tie for the Big 12 lead. She also is first in the conference in walks (18) and shutouts (7).
Fans wanting to tickets to the Aggie Classic presented by Honeybaked Ham and Cafe can do so by calling 1-888-99-AGGIE or logging on to www.AggieAthletics.com. A full tournament schedule can be found on AggieAthletics.com.
Parking for Friday and Sunday will be available in Reed Arena Lots 100e and 100g and Reed Arena Lot 100e and Tennis Center Lot 100d on Saturday.
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