The No. 9 Texas A&M softball team (28-7) will host Colorado State (17-14) this weekend in a three-game, non-conference series at the Aggie Softball Complex. The series opener is set for 7 p.m. Friday, followed by game two at 4 p.m. Saturday and the series finale at noon on Sunday. All times are Central.
Fans wanting to keep up with the action this weekend should tune in to the live radio broadcasts. Every game this weekend can be heard on 95.1-3 The Zone HD or online at RadioAggieland.com and AggieAthletics.com.
Bryan/College Station youth softball teams will be admitted FREE to Saturday’s game with the wearing of their team jerseys. The team with the most members in attendance will receive a free clinic and pizza party. A softball clinic will be hosted by the Aggie softball team after the game. On Friday, the Corps of Cadets will march into the Aggie Softball Complex to support the team.
LAST TIME OUT
The ninth-ranked Aggies dropped an SEC series, 2-1, to defending National Champion Alabama. A&M took game one in dramatic fashion as a two-run home run by senior Mel Dumezich in the bottom of the sixth lifted the Aggies to a 3-2 victory over the Crimson Tide.
SCOUTING COLORADO STATE
The Rams (17-14, 3-0 MWC) are riding a six-game winning streak that began March 17 and includes a Mountain West Conference series sweep of UNLV. At the plate, Ashlie Ortega is leading the way with 20 RBI 29 hits, 24 runs scored, five home runs, two triples and six doubles. Kacie McCarthy (13-6) has done most of the work in the circle. She owns a 2.33 ERA, giving up 42 earned runs on 114 hits while walking 35 and fanning 97.
A&M holds an 8-2 all-time series advantage over Colorado State. The teams last met in Clearwater, Fla., in a 10-1, six-inning run-rule victory for the Aggies in 2011.
Texas A&M Head Coach Jo Evans began her head coaching career with the Rams in 1986. The Rams finished with a 13-16 record in her first season as head coach, but it was in her fourth and final season that Evans took the program to new heights. That year the Rams finished with a 37-14 record and a co-conference championship title. Evans, who led CSU to a 91-67 mark during her four-year stint, collected back-to-back High Country Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors her final two seasons and was chosen as the Central Region Coach of the Year in 1989.
Evans has known Colorado State Head Coach Jen Fisher since her four-year stint with the Rams, when Fisher was a child. Her mother is one of Evans’ close friends from Fort Collins. CSU sophomore Taylor Hutton is the daughter of Christine Hutton, who played softball for Evans at Colorado State.
MORGAN AT ASA/USA WNT TRYOUTS
Junior Nicole Morgan has been invited to the ASA/USA Softball Selection Camp, set for June 9-13. If chosen for the national squad, Morgan will travel to and play in several exhibition and international events this summer, culminating in the 2015 Pan Am Games and 2014 World Championship qualifiers August 5-18 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Dumezich threw three no-hitters over the span of 11 days for the Aggies, earning USA Softball National Player of the Week and SEC player of the Week honors on Feb. 26. The senior threw her career-first no-hitter against Stephen F. Austin (Feb. 20) and added a second vs. Southeastern Louisiana (Feb. 24) the same week. Dumezich’s third no-hitter in less than two weeks came against Illinois State and was her first seven-inning effort as the Aggies run-ruled SFA and SELU.
GRAND SLAMS GALORE
Morgan has proven to be a threat at the plate with bases loaded, pounding three grand slams this season. Morgan’s first four-RBI homer came early in the season as she topped the fence with three on base against Cal State Bakersfield on Feb. 9 for her second long ball of the game. On Feb. 17, Morgan plated four against Stephen F. Austin before clearing the bags at Missouri on March 9. Junior Amber Garza joined Morgan in the grand slam club with a four-RBI homer against Texas State on March 26.
HOME RUN HITTERS
A&M has hit 59 home runs this season, including 19 in SEC play. Morgan’s 13 long balls are a team best, followed by freshman Cali Lanphear’s 11. Senior Meagan May broke the program’s career home run record with 57 and reached the 60-bomb mark at Tennessee.
The Aggies’ early success in their first season in the Southeastern Conference has shown in the SEC overall statistics as the team tops league members in several areas through last weekend’s games. A&M ranks second in the SEC in overall stats in home runs (59) and saves (4) and lead the conference with two runners picked off. Morgan paces the league with 13 home runs and ranks second with three sacrifice flies. Dumezich has a league-best 153.2 innings pitched, three saves, 29 appearances and 24 starts. Her 19 victories rank second among SEC peers, while her 163 strikeouts rank third.
VS. THE NCAA
Through games played on March 31, the Aggies hold a No. 9 RPI ranking and are among the best in the nation in several statistical areas. As a team, A&M is second in the country in home runs per game (1.69), fifth in slugging percentage (.574), 29th in scoring (6.09) and 18th in win-loss percentage (.800). Individually, Dumezich is fifth in victories (19), 13th in saves (3), 16th in strikeouts (163) and ninth in shutouts (6). Morgan ranks 19th in home runs per game (.37), 20th in RBI per game (1.17), 26th in slugging percentage (.830), 15th in sacrifice flies (3) and seventh in home runs (13). Freshman Cali Lanphear sits at 18th in home runs per game (.38) and 16th in home runs (12).
A&M started the season ranked No. 17 in both national polls and is now sitting at No. 10 in both the ESPN.com/USA Softball top 25 and No. 9 in the NFCA/USA Today poll. The team’s No. 4 national ranking on March 19 was the highest since the end of the 2008 season when the reigning national runners-up were second in the final poll. The Aggies’ remaining 2013 opponent in the polls is No. 13/13 LSU. In addition, Georgia is receiving votes.
The Aggies will play 53 regular-season games in 2013, 32 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.
BACK IN ACTION
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 NCAA 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.
EVERY GAME ON RADIO
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.
WATCH THE AGGIES ONLINE
For the 10th straight season, 12th Man TV will bring Aggies around the globe live video of Texas A&M softball. Fans will be able to watch all non-televised Aggie home games, along with select road games, through the all-new 12th Man TV. Subscription packages start at $11.95/month and include exclusive live and on-demand content not found anywhere else. For more information log on to aggieathletics.com.
AGGIES ON THE TUBE
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.
A&M will host Lamar in a Tuesday doubleheader at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. All times are Central. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.