COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The No. 14 Texas A&M softball team (27-11), 7-3 Big 12) finishes off a seven-game road trip Tuesday, playing No. 22 Baylor (26-13, 3-7 Big 12) in the second game of a three-game conference series in Waco.
The Aggies and Lady Bears faced off for the first time this season in College Station on March 28. A&M won game one, 6-1, and leads the series over Baylor. Junior Mel Dumezich threw a complete game for the win, giving up just one earned run on three hits.
LAST TIME OUT
The Aggies earned a series win over Iowa State last weekend, sweeping a Friday doubleheader before dropping game three on Saturday. The Aggies collected 18 runs against the Cyclones, allowing just six by the home team. Junior Mel Dumezich (19-8) had the decision in each of the Aggies’ games this weekend, while sophomore Nicole Morgan led the team from the dish, going 4-for-7 with two home runs, a double and three RBI. Morgan also drew four walks through three games and reached base a perfect eight times out of eight plate appearances during Friday’s doubleheader. Freshman Lauren Ainsley threw three innings during the second game Friday and pounded a grand slam over left field in her only career at bat as an Aggie for a 4.000 slugging percentage on the season.
FOLLOW THE ACTION
Live stats and live audio will be provided for every game this season on AggieAthletics.com, while live streaming video will be offered at each of the Aggies’ home games. Fans can also listen to all of the Aggies’ games live on 95.1-3 The Zone HD, making it available worldwide on any Smartphone or HD radio. Tuesday’s game will be featured locally on Sports Radio 1150 AM. Log on to RadioAggieland.com for more information.
AGGIES IN THE POLLS
Texas A&M is ranked 14th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Poll and 16th in the USA Today/NFCA rankings. The Aggies’ remaining 2012 opponents appearing in the polls are No. 3/3 Texas, No. 5/7 Oklahoma and No. 22/25 Baylor.
The Aggies return home to host No. 5 Oklahoma this weekend in a three-day, three-game conference series at the Aggie Softball Complex. Game one Friday will start at 7 p.m., while first pitch Saturday is at 3 p.m. and Sunday’s series finale will begin at noon.
Dumezich’s two grand slams vs. BYU on Feb. 24 tied an NCAA single-game record. Only three other players in the history of Division I softball have hit base-clearing long balls, the most recent being in 2007. Dumezich joins sophomore Amber Garza at No. 3 on the single-season grand slams list with three, as she powered a grand slam in the Aggies’ home opener against Sam Houston State. Garza hit three grand slams last season, two of them in the NCAA College Station Regional.
Dumezich has also shined in the circle this season, breaking her career strikeout record twice. She threw 14 strikeouts against No. 18 Hawaii on March 16 and bested that record during Friday’s OSU game when she fanned 15 batters in eight innings.
Evans welcomes a group of five freshmen to the team this season. Lauren Ainsley (RHP – La Vernia, Texas), Brittany Clopton (OF – Montgomery, Texas), Kayla Klein (RHP – Whittier, Calif.), Sara Mireles (LHP – New Braunfels, Texas) and Lauren Tamayo (UT – Roanoke, Texas) will put on the Maroon & White in 2012.
The No. 22 Lady Bears are 26-13 this season, and 3-7 in Big 12 play. Last weekend Baylor swept a Friday doubleheader with Kansas and dropped the Saturday series finale, 6-1. Kathy Shelton leads the team from the plate with a .381 average. She owns 29 runs on 43 hits, including six doubles and a home run, for 11 RBI while also topping the team with 17 walks. From the circle, Courtney Repka (12-7) is paving the way. She has tossed 123.2 innings this season, giving up 25 earned runs on 92 hits while walking 39 batters and fanning 51. The Lady Bears, who had a program-best WCWS Semifinal finish in 2011, are missing left-handed ace Whitney Canion in the circle. Canion suffered a knee injury earlier this season.
The Aggies are 56-21-1 all-time against Baylor, with the rivalry dating back to 1980. This will be the last season the two teams will meet in the Big 12. Last season the Aggies and Lady Bears split games with each team winning at home.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
The Aggies are 14-2 at home this season, and 41-2 in the last 43 games. A&M recently ended a program-best 34-game home winning streak, starting April 25, 2010. The streak was also the longest active home winning streak in the nation as the Aggies went undefeated at home in 2011. This is the longest home winning streak A&M has had since the program’s inception in 1981. The previous record holder by Aggie softball was a 21-game ride from Feb. 19, 2005-May 22, 2005.
In the latest RPI rankings (through April 1), A&M sits at No. 13 in the nation, behind only two Big 12 schools – No. 3 Texas and No. 8 Oklahoma. The Aggies are among the best in the nation in several categories this season, through games of April 1. As a team, A&M ranks 19th in fielding percentage (.975), 36th in win-loss percentage (0.714) and 28th in home runs per game (0.94). Junior Meagan May has drawn a national second-highest 1.00 walk per game. Dumezich is among the top 25 in the nation in three categories, with 192 strikeouts (8th), 17 victories (7th) and 4.41 hits allowed per seven innings (22nd). Dumezich also ranks 34th in strikeouts per seven innings (8.3).
The Aggies area also among the best in the conference in all games in several areas. May’s 41 walks and .511 on base percentage this season top the competition, while Dumezich ranks third with 25 walks. The right-hander leads the league in wins (19), innings pitched (179.0), appearances (32), games started (25) and complete games (20), and is second in strikeouts (212). Three Aggies are tied for first with nine sacrifice bunts – juniors Brittany Walker and Sydney Shannon, and sophomore Emily Albus. As a team, A&M has more plate appearances (1204), walks (159) and sacrifice bunts (45) than any other team in the league.
In 2011 Dumezich was named to the Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American second team after earning a 1.92 ERA in 247 1/3 Innings pitched. The junior gave up only 68 runs while fanning 262 batters as a sophomore and ranks ninth on the Aggies’ career strikeouts list.
May earned All-America second team honors in 2010 as a freshman. The standout catcher broke the team and Big 12 records for home runs in a season after clearing the fence 24 times. She also posted a team-leading .405 batting average, 66 hits, 16 doubles, 62 RBI, a .945 slugging percentage and a .557 on base percentage. May was one of only six Aggies to earn the honor as a freshman.
Tickets for the 2012 softball season can be purchased through the 12th Man Foundation Ticket Office for $5-$8. Fans can purchase tickets to every home game in person at The Zone at Kyle Field box office, online at www.12thManFoundation.com, or over the phone at 1-888-99-AGGIE (2-4443) or (979) 845-2311. The ticket window at the Aggie Softball Complex will open one hour prior to each home game, at which time remaining tickets may be purchased at the gate.
Parking this season is free for each home game that does not share a date with a baseball game. Fans can park in Reed Arena Lot 100, across the street from the Aggie Softball Complex. For conflicting dates, fans will be charged $5 to park.
BIG 12 PRESEASON POLL
A&M was picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Aggies received 37 points and finished behind preseason favorite Missouri (59), and Oklahoma (56), Texas (50) and Baylor (45). A&M was selected as the frontrunner for three consecutive years, from 2006-08, and was picked fourth last season, ending 2011 in third place. Oklahoma State placed sixth with 32 points, followed by Texas Tech (22), Kansas (13) and Iowa State (10).
GET IT LIVE
Live audio and live stats are featured in every A&M game in 2012. Several contests will be aired on Sports Radio 1150 AM. All other games will be broadcast live on AggieAthletics.com and on 95.1-3 The Zone HD, making it available worldwide on any iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry or PDA free of charge. Log on to RadioAggieland.com for more information.