COLLEGE STATION -- After capturing its first ever Big 12 Championship tournament title last weekend in Oklahoma City, the fifth-ranked Texas A&M softball team is looking to make a return trip, this time for the NCAA Women’s College World Series. The Aggies, who are set to host the College Station Regional, kickoff postseason play on Friday against the Ladyjacks of Stephen F. Austin. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. at the Aggie Softball Complex.
“It's great to be hosting a regional again this year,” A&M head coach Jo Evans said. “Our team has worked hard to earn the No. 5 seed and it is rewarding to see all the hard work pay off in the end. It is a competitive field and we look forward to hosting a great tournament. Our team is coming off a very successful weekend at the Big 12 Championship and I look forward to carrying that momentum into the NCAA Tournament.”
Live stats will be available on aggieathletics.com. Fans can listen to the game on KZNE 1150 the Zone with play-by-play from Gabe Bock and color commentary by Clint Netherland.
SFA (36-23) earned an automatic bid into the field of 64 after winning the Southland Conference Tournament championship. The 2-1 victory over Nicholls State gave the Ladyjacks their second SLC Tournament title in program history and their first-ever trip to the NCAA Championships.
The Ladyjacks landed five players (Ashley Struchtemeyer, Monica Hirsch, Briana Bishop, Jessica Tullos and Monika Covington) on the SLC All-Tournament team.
Covington, a freshman, was named the Most Valuable Player after going a perfect 3-0 on the weekend. The Huffman, Texas-native allowed just three runs while striking out 27 hitters and surrendering five walks through 20 complete innings in the circle.
A&M also received an automatic bid to the tournament after winning both the Big 12 regular season and tournament titles and remaining in the Top-10 in both national polls for the entirety of the regular season. With the win on Sunday, A&M became one of just five Big 12 teams to win both the regular season and tournament titles in the same season.
The Aggies placed four players (Erin Glasco, Megan Gibson, Jamie Hinshaw and Holly Ridley) on the Big 12 All-Tournament team last weekend.
Megan Gibson was voted Most Outstanding Player after earning her 31st, 32nd, and 33rd victories of the season. The two-time All-American allowed just one run through 21 innings of work. Gibson posted double-digit strikeouts in two of the three games while surrendering just two walks.
A&M holds a commanding 44-4 all-time series lead over SFA. The two teams met earlier this year in a doubleheader in College Station. A&M won both games, 7-1 and 3-0.
SFA is 1-4 this season against Big 12 teams. After dropping their doubleheader against the Aggies, the Ladyjacks split with Oklahoma State, 1-0 and 1-5 while also falling to Baylor 0-3.
Under the direction of Coach Evans, the Aggies are 3-0 against Southland Conference teams in the NCAA Tournament. A&M has posted wins over McNeese State, 3-0, and Sam Houston State, 9-5 and 11-0.
Auburn, the No. 2 seed in the College Station Regional, will take on No. 3-seeded Louisiana Tech at 3:30 on Friday.
Auburn (37-20) is making its fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers earned an at-large bid posting a 13-14 mark in Southeastern Conference play, finishing sixth overall in the league standings.
The all-time series between the Aggies and Tigers has been deadlocked at 2-2 since 2001 when the teams last met at the UC Santa Barbara Invitational in Santa Barbara, Calif. A&M won the contest, 4-3 over Auburn.
Since Coach Evans arrival in 1997, the Aggies are 5-5 against SEC teams in the NCAA Tournament. Most recently, A&M won its best-of-three series against then 19th-ranked Florida in the College Station Super Regional last season before falling to top-ranked Tennessee, 0-2, at the NCAA Women’s College World Series.
Louisiana Tech (35-27) is making its ninth appearance in the NCAA Tournament but first since 1995. Tech took an automatic bid into the tournament after winning four-straight games over ranked opponents en route to the Western Athletic Conference Tournament title.
The Aggies hold the all-time series lead over the Lady Techsters at 32-24. The two teams last met in 2001 at the UTA/Isuzu Intercollegiate Classic in Grand Prairie, Texas with A&M winning, 8-0.
A&M is 1-1 in NCAA Tournament play against WAC opponents under the direction of Coach Evans. The Aggies split two games, 4-3 and 3-8, against Hawaii in 1998 at a NCAA Regional in Seattle, Wash.
The winner of Friday’s contests will face off at noon on Saturday. The losers will meet Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.
Fans wishing to purchase tickets can do so by logging on to aggieathletics.com or through the Athletic Ticket Office at 1-888-99-AGGIE.
Parking will be open and free of charge in lots accessible off Tom Chandler Ave. or Olsen Blvd. on both Friday and Saturday.
Sunday’s parking with be available in lot 100G or 100E, located just north of the Aggie Softball Complex and adjacent to Reed Basketball Arena.
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