COLLEGE STATION, Texas- After clinching a share of the Big 12 title over the weekend, the fifth-ranked Texas A&M softball team returns home for the second round of the State Farm Lone Star Showdown against the Texas Longhorns on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Aggie Softball Complex. The game will be televised live by ESPNU.
“It should be a great atmosphere at our ballpark on Wednesday,” A&M head coach Jo Evans said. “Our team is playing well and coming off some good wins on the road at Nebraska. We have done a good job of staying focused and not getting ahead of ourselves. We need to carry the momentum from the last couple weeks into this game and play with great confidence.”
Fans can listen to Wednesday’s game on 1150 AM The Zone with play-by-play from Gabe Bock and color commentary from Clint Netherland.
Texas dropped to 25-19-2 overall, 9-8 in Big 12 play after surrendering a pair of 8-0 run-rulings to No. 8 Oklahoma over the weekend. The back-to-back run-rule losses marked the first time Texas has suffered such defeats since 2002 and the first time it has ever dropped consecutive run-rule contests in Big 12 play.
The Longhorns managed just four hits through the two-game series. Kelly Melone recorded the only hit for UT on Saturday, doubling down the leftfield line to break up Sooner pitcher D.J Mathis’ perfect game. Junior first baseman Desiree Williams was issued a two-out walk in the sixth serving as Texas’ only other baserunner on the day.
Longhorns’ freshman leftfielder Amy Hooks registered two of Texas’ three hits on Sunday, including a double in the second inning. Sophomore centerfielder Kori Cook’s fifth-inning single was the Horns only other hit.
Loryn Johnson leads the Longhorns at the plate, hitting .356 on the season. The sophomore has scored 22 runs and driven in 29 RBIs off 52 hits, including nine doubles and a team-best 10 homeruns.
In Big 12 games, Johnson ranks second in hits with 22 and homeruns with four. She also sits third in slugging percentage (.679).
On the mound for Texas, Meagan Denny carries a 1.87 ERA. En route to an 18-7 record, the senior has tossed seven complete game shutouts. Denny ranks first in the league standings in strikeouts (248) and saves (3). She sits third in wins (18) and complete games (17).
The Aggies improved to 45-7 overall, 16-1 in conference play and clinched a guaranteed share of the Big 12 regular season title after sweeping the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 6-0 and 6-3, over the weekend in Lincoln, Neb.
In the two-game series against the Huskers, junior Holly Ridley was responsible for six of the Aggies’ 12 runs, including four of A&M’s six on Sunday. In Big 12 games this season, Ridley is hitting .366. The Sugar Land, Texas-native ranks third in the league standings in on base percentage (.527) and fourth in runs scored (14) and runs batted in (15).
On the mound for the Aggies, senior Megan Gibson (29-1) boasts a 1.08 ERA. On the weekend, Gibson allowed just three runs, two earned, while striking out 19 Husker hitters and surrendering just one walk. In her last 25 innings pitched, Gibson has allowed just two free passes. She leads the league in wins (29), innings pitched (201), shutouts (14), walks (45), on base percentage (.523) and doubles (13). Gibson ranks second slugging percentage (.738), strikeouts (234) and opponents batting average (.170).
Wednesday’s game gives A&M a chance to even the all-time series as Texas holds a slight 14-15 advantage over the Aggies.
A&M defeated the Horns, 3-1, in Austin in the first round of the State Farm Lone Star Showdown earlier this year.
The two teams have split the last three series. The last two-game sweep came in 2004 when A&M defeated Texas 6-0 in Austin and 11-1 in College Station.
There are a limited number of tickets for Wednesday’s game left for presale. A limited number of reserved and standing room only will also be available at the gate. Tickets will go on sale at 5 p.m. at the Aggie Softball Complex.
Parking for the game will be available in lots designated 100 J & K.