OKLAHOMA CITY-, OK -- The fifth-seeded Texas A&M softball team (57-8) is set to face off opposite the sixth-seeded Arizona State Sun Devils (64-5) in the NCAA Championship best-of-three series scheduled to begin Monday at 7 p.m. at ASA Hall Fame Stadium.
Arizona State enters Monday’s match-up with a flawless 3-0 record in tournament play at the Women’s College World Series. The Sun Devils headed into Sunday’s semifinals needing just one win to secure their spot in the championship series after defeating No. 3 seed Alabama (3-1) and No. 2 seed UCLA (4-1) on Thursday and Friday. ASU again touched Crimson Tide ace Kelsi Dunne for three runs as the Sun Devils posted another 3-1 win over Alabama to assure their shot a national championship.
ASU is looking for its first national title in program history as the team is making its first appearance in the championship series.
Katie Burkhart boasts a 39-5 and 0.74 ERA in the circle for Arizona State. The senior has posted 19 complete game shutouts, striking out 489 batters through 301.1 innings of work, holding opponents to a .133 average.
Kaitlin Cochran leads the Sun Devils at the plate, hitting .443 on the season. The junior has scored 83 runs and driven in 48 RBIs off 74 hits, including 19 doubles, four triples, and 13 homeruns.
The Aggies, who are 3-1 in WCWS play, are looking to claim their fourth national title in school history after defeating Florida, 1-0, in extra innings in an if necessary game Sunday night.
Kelsey Spittler scratched the game’s lone run in the top half of the ninth inning, driving in Macie Morrow off a triple down the right field line
Three time All-American Megan Gibson (41-2) earned the win, picking up her 21st shutout of the season. The senior hurler tossed nine complete innings, scattering seven hits while fanning six Gator hitters and walking none.
A threat on both sides of the ball, Gibson is hitting .337 at the plate on the year. The Spring, Texas-native has scored 44 runs and driven in 48 RBIs off 67 hits, 15 doubles, one triple and 13 homeruns.
Jamie Hinshaw is close behind with a .335 clip. The senior third baseman ranks first on the team in hits (67) and runs scored (48). She ranks second in doubles (12) and RBIs (33).
The Aggies are 5-10 all-time against the Sun Devils. Despite their 15 previous match-ups Monday’s game poses a seemingly unfamiliar foe for A&M as the two schools haven’t met since 2004, a year before any of the teams’ current players set foot on their respective campuses. The Aggies and Sun Devils last faced off at the Kia Classic in Fullerton, Calif. with ASU winning the game 5-3.
A&M is the first Big 12 team to advance to the championship series since Oklahoma won the title in 2000.
With the Aggies 1-0 win over Florida, A&M set a school-record for wins in a season (57) which was previously held by the 1987 and 1994 teams. The ’87 season was also the last time the Aggies have won a national championship.
First pitch can be seen on ESPN2 and heard locally in Bryan/College Station on Sports Radio 1150 the Zone. Live stats will be available on aggieathletics.com.
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