9th-Ranked Aggies Host SFA in Wednesday Doubleheader

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Looking to maintain its undefeated status, the No. 9 Texas A&M softball team (10-0) will host Stephen F. Austin (4-7) in a Wednesday doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m. at the Aggie Softball Complex.

The Aggies and Ladyjacks will face off at 5 p.m. and at 7 p.m. CST. Live audio of the game can be heard via 95.1-3 The Zone HD on any HD radio or smartphone, or on AggieAthletics.com and RadioAggieland.com.

The Aggies moved up to No. 9 and had their best start since 2007, going 10-0, after five straight home wins at the Aggie Classic last weekend. A&M fought to wins over Pittsburgh (7-3) and No. 23 North Carolina (1-0) on Friday before again downing the Tar Heels (3-1) and the Panthers (9-5) on Saturday. The tournament ended with a five-inning run-rule over SFA, 9-0 on Sunday.

Junior Emily Albus led the team offensively on the weekend, going 10-for-17 in five games with four runs scored, three RBI, four walks, two doubles and five stolen bases in as many attempts for a .588 average. Senior Mel Dumezich spent 25.0 innings in the circle, picking up a 4-0 record and her first save of the season while tossing 30 strikeouts and allowing just one earned run on five walks and 18 hits. The right-handed pitcher owns a 0.70 ERA on the season after picking up a 0.28 ERA last weekend.

The Aggies combined for 29 runs, 42 hits (6 HR, 8 2B, 1 3B), 28 RBI and a .356 average on the weekend, while the pitching staff of Dumezich, sophomores Lauren Ainsley and Sara Mireles, and freshman Kristen Davenport struck out 31 and allowed just six earned runs on 29 hits to hold opponents to a .223 average at the plate.

Fans could win several prizes this weekend at the Texas A&M Invitational, including a signed softball, a signed poster, a signed football and a 32” TV. To be entered into the drawing fans must attend four of the Aggies’ five games during the tournament and get a Texas A&M Invitational Card, available at the 12th Man Rewards table, stamped during each game you attend.

The Ladyjacks are coming off a 16-33 season. SFA returns eight letterwinners and four starters from last year’s team. The Ladyjacks started the season at the Kajikawa Classic where they earned wins against Creighton, 4-3, and San Diego State, 2-1. Currently the Ladyjacks have a 4-7 record through the early part of the season after defeating Pitt and UNC once each last weekend at the Aggie Classic. As a team, the Lumberjacks are batting .186 with 28 runs scored. Leading the offense is Elizabeth Arana with a .296 average, three doubles and seven RBI. Carlie Thomas has been the leading pitcher with a 4-2 record, a 2.56 ERA and 39 strikeouts on 38.2 innings pitched.
Texas A&M holds a 53-5 record all-time against the Ladyjacks. When the teams played on Sunday, junior Nicole Morgan hit her second grand slam of the season in the 9-0 A&M victory.
Stephen F. Austin head coach Gay McNutt was a four-year starter at catcher for the Aggies from 1982-85. During her time at A&M, she helped the team to the program's first and second national championships (1982 AIAW, 1983 NCAA). McNutt was a four-year all-region selection and was honored as a member of the All-America team her senior year.
The Aggies’ early success in their first season in the Southeastern Conference has shown in the SEC rankings as the team tops league members in several areas. A&M’s 0.98 ERA is an SEC best, as are team home runs (21), and the Aggies’ slugging percentage (.664), total bases (174), earned runs allowed (9), walks allowed (15) and wins (10) rank second in the league. Individually, Morgan leads the SEC in RBI (19) and home runs (7), and is second in total bases (37) while sophomore Brittany Clopton sits at second in the conference in sacrifice bunts with three. Dumezich tops the competition in the circle in innings pitched (40.0), batters struck out (53), wins (7), games started (7) and appearances (8), and ties for first with one save. From behind the plate, senior Meagan May leads with a 1.000 fielding percentage, 87 chances and 82 putouts.

A&M started the season ranked No. 17 in both national polls and is now sitting at No. 9 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball top 25 and No. 10 in the NFCA/USA Today poll. The Aggies’ 2013 opponents in the polls are ­No. 2/1 Alabama, No. 4/4 Tennessee, No. 5/5 Florida, No. 7/7 Missouri, No. 10/11 LSU, No. 12/12 Louisiana-Lafayette, No. 15/15 Michigan, and No. 16/13 Georgia.

The Aggies will play 53 regular-season games in 2013, 29 of those being in the friendly confines of the Aggie Softball Complex. The team will also host four SEC series. A&M’s challenging schedule includes matchups against three conference champions, 11 NCAA Regional teams, five NCAA Super Regional teams and three Women’s College World Series (WCWS) teams from the 2012 season, including reigning National Champion Alabama.

Of the 22 different known teams the Aggies will play in 2013, 10 ended the 2012 season in the top 50 in national RPI standings, six are in the top 25 and two are in the top five. The average final RPI for the Aggies’ opponents this season is 56, while the average RPI for the SEC teams A&M will play is 27. Only one SEC school on the Aggies’ schedule - No. 92 Ole Miss - did not make the final RPI top 50 in 2012.

A&M welcomes 14 letterwinners and nine starters back to the team. All-American seniors Meagan May and Mel Dumezich highlight the returners, along with fellow 2012 All-Central Region selections juniors Cassie Tysarczyk and Emily Albus. The 2012 Aggies led the Big 12 with seven conference honors as Dumezich, junior Nicole Morgan and Tysarczyk were selected to the first team and Albus, May, then-junior Brittany Walker and then-senior Natalie Villarreal took second-team awards.

Five newcomers will also make their SEC debut: Freshmen Alex Masek (Giddings, Texas), Cali Lanphear (Montgomery, Texas), Breanna Dozier (Rowlett, Texas) and Kristen Davenport (Deer Park, Texas), and junior transfer Rachel Fox (Sugar Land, Texas) who will redshirt this season due to SEC rules.

Also new to the team is Director of Softball Operations Terry Schweikert. The former Missouri softball standout joins the team from Corona, Calif., where she was the Director of Teamsmith, a travel softball organization. At Teamsmith, Schweikert oversaw eight youth softball teams in the 10U-18U divisions.

A familiar face who has joined the Aggies in a new capacity is Volunteer Pitching Coach Rhi Kliesing. The former Aggie pitcher and first baseman spent time on the diamond from 2008-11 and was Evans’ student assistant last season.

Individual game and season tickets may be purchased over the phone at 1-888-99-AGGIE OR 979-845-2311, online at Tickets.12thManFoundation.com, or in person at The Zone at Kyle Field ticket office.

Season tickets are currently available for just $125, while individual game tickets for softball are $10 for reserved (sections 4-8) and $8 for General Admission (sections 1-3). Youth GA tickets are available for $5 each. Group rates are also available to groups of at least 20, and cost $8 for reserved seats and $3 for GA.

Junior Aggie Club members are admitted free of charge to all Aggie softball games. Membership to the JAC is just $25, and information is available at www.JuniorAggieClub.com.

The “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” promotion returns in 2013, allowing four (4) kids under 12 to be admitted free on Sundays with the purchase of one adult ticket. All seats in this promotion are General Admission. Children must be accompanied by an adult purchasing a ticket to qualify for the promotion. Everyone, regardless of age, is required to have a ticket in the General Admission section, though GA tickets for children under 2 are free of charge.

Parking for all Aggie softball games is available in Reed Arena lot 100G and Olsen Field lot 100J. Visitors may park for free when there is not a conflict with an A&M men’s basketball or baseball game. This does not include 24-hour numbered, 12th Man or timed spaces. Visit transportation.tamu.edu for more information.

All of the Aggie softball team’s games this season will be broadcast by The Zone. Select games will be aired locally on Sports Radio 1150 The Zone, while the remaining contests can be heard on any smartphone or HD radio worldwide via 95.1-3 The Zone HD. Links to the online broadcasts for each game can be found at RadioAggieland.com and AggieAthletics.com.

The Zone’s Program Director, Louie Belina (away), and Tim Schnettler (home) will be calling the pitch-by-pitch, with David Batson providing color commentary. Former Texas A&M softball Director of Operations Stephen Grove will add analysis in select games as well.

At least three Aggie softball games will be played on national television this season. A&M’s April 13 home game vs. LSU will be aired on ESPN at 2:30 p.m., while the Sunday, April 14, game between the two schools will be broadcast live at 12:30 p.m. on FSN. ESPNU will televise the A&M-Tennessee matchup on March 23 in Knoxville, Tenn. In addition to the three regular season games, the ESPN Network will show the entire SEC Tournament nationwide, including the two play-in games. All times are Central.

The Aggies will host the annual Texas A&M Invitational this weekend as Purdue, Southeastern Louisiana and UTSA make the trip to College Station. The first A&M game this weekend is Friday, Feb. 22, vs. UTSA at 3 p.m. All home games are played at the Aggie Softball Complex. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.

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