COLLEGE STATION, TX -- The No. 16 Texas A&M softball team (31-14, 11-6 Big 12) returns to the Aggie Softball Complex Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. to host No. 25 Baylor (28-16, 5-10 Big 12) in the conference series finale between the regional rivals.
The Aggies lead the series with the Lady Bears 2-0 after a 6-1 victory in College Station on March 28 and a 3-0 shutout in Waco on April 10.
LAST TIME OUT
The Aggies traveled to No. 24 Texas Tech, sweeping the Red Raiders in a Tuesday doubleheader, 9-6 and 9-0, before dropping the series finale, 8-6 on a TTU grand slam. Sophomore Cassie Tysarczyk was 7-for-9 on the week for a .778 average with eight hits, including a double and a home run, eight RBI, three walks and two stolen bases. Freshman Lauren Ainsley earned her first career shutout in game two on Tuesday, striking out four batters and giving up just three hits in six complete innings of work for the run-rule.
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 16th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Poll and 19th in the USA Today/NFCA rankings. The Aggies’ remaining 2012 opponents appearing in the polls are No. 5/6 Texas and No. 25 Baylor.
To make up for the loss of earlier games due to inclement weather, the Aggies will travel to Boise, Idaho to play Boise State, May 10, 11 and 12. The Aggies and Broncos will face off each day at 5 p.m. CST at the Mountain Cove Softball Field in Boise.
The Aggies will split sites with No. 5 Texas this weekend, starting with a 6 p.m. Thursday game in College Station. That game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2. The teams will then head to Austin Saturday for a 12:30 p.m. game at McCombs Field on FSN. The series finale is set for 5 p.m. on Sunday in Austin.
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 two base-clearing long balls in a single game, 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 Lady Bears dropped a three-game series at Texas Tech this weekend but won game two, 8-4. Baylor is 28-16 this season and 5-10 in Big 12 play to rank seventh in the conference. Kathy Shelton is leading the starters with a .346 average on 45 hits. She owns a team-best 32 runs, 19 walks and 22 stolen bases, and has six doubles and 11 RBI. In the circle, Courtney Repka is 14-8 with a 1.76 ERA and three combined shutouts. She has struck out 70 batters and given up 38 earned runs on 117 hits while walking 51 batters.
A&M leads the all-time series over Baylor 56-21-1. The Aggies have a chance to sweep the series against the Lady Bears after taking games one and two in College Station and Waco, respectively.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
The Aggies are 15-4 at home this season, and 42-4 in the last 46 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 8), A&M sits at No. 17 in the nation, behind only three Big 12 schools – No. 4 Texas, No. 8 Oklahoma and No. 14 Missouri. The Aggies are among the best in the nation in several categories this season, through games of April 8. As a team, A&M ranks 20th in fielding percentage (.974), 33rd in win-loss percentage (0.711) and 28th in home runs per game (0.97). Junior Meagan May has drawn a national second-highest 1.08 walks per game. Dumezich is among the top 30 in the nation in three categories, with 212 strikeouts (7th), 19 victories (10th) and 4.5 hits allowed per seven innings (28th). Dumezich also ranks 36th in strikeouts per seven innings (8.3).
The Aggies are also among the best in the conference in all games in several areas, as of April 22. Junior Meagan May’s 41 walks top the competition, and her .484 on base percentage this season ranks third, while Dumezich ranks fourth with 31 walks. The right-hander leads the league in innings pitched (211.2), appearances (37) and games started (30), and is second in strikeouts (244) and third in wins (22). Sophomore Emily Albus ranks fifth with a .387 batting average and is second with 10 sacrifice bunts, while juniors Brittany Walker and Sydney Shannon each own nine and tie for third. Senior leadoff hitter Natalie Villarreal ranks fourth in total plate appearances (171) and at bats (148). As a team, A&M has more walks (180) and sacrifice bunts (49) than any other team in the league and is second in total plate appearances (1428), at bats (1171), putouts (936) and innings pitched (312.0).
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.