COLLEGE STATION -- Coming off of a series victory over the eight-time national champion Arizona, the 17th-ranked Texas A&M softball team heads to Houston on Wednesday to take on the Cougars at 6 p.m. in their Third Annual Striking Out Breast Cancer game.
The Aggies (13-8) enter the midweek contest after their second straight 4-1 weekend. Senior Holly Ridley and sophomore Rhi Kliesing swept the Big 12 Conference weekly awards, while Ridley also earned National Player of the Week honors from the NFCA and USA Softball.
Ridley garnered the honors after hitting .625 last week with five doubles, two home runs and eight RBIs, while never recording a strikeout. Kliesing went 3-0 in the circle, fanning 23 and picking up both upsets against the Wildcats.
Houston (8-8) finished 1-1 at the NFCA Leadoff Classic, knocking off then-No. 6 Michigan, 3-2, and losing to South Carolina, 2-1. Rain and snow in the area cancelled the other three scheduled games.
The Cougars are led by Elaina Nordstrom who is hitting .438 while Jessica Valis has a team-high 18 hits. Bailie Lott and Amanda Crabtree both post 4-4 records in the circle this season and Crabtree nearly doubles Lott with 43 strikeouts.
Sophomore Natalie Villarreal leads the Aggies with a .406 batting average, 28 hits, seven doubles and 17 runs. Ridley (.387) and junior Alex Reynolds are both hitting over .300, while Ridley boasts team-bests in home runs (7) and RBIs (19). Kliesing’s 1.67 ERA, three shutouts and 89 strikeouts lead the A&M pitching staff.
The Aggies met and defeated UH, 4-3, in eight innings earlier this year at the Marriott Houston Invitational. Kliesing was the winning pitcher and sophomore Kelsey Spittler led the offense going 2-for-4 with the game-winning RBI-single.