COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The No. 21 Texas A&M softball team (16-7) will face four opponents in Hawaii, including top-ranked and undefeated California (21-0) and No. 18 host school Hawaii (21-0).
The Aggies will start the week on Wednesday with a 4 p.m. game vs. No. 1 Cal and a 9 p.m. game against Marist (6-9). On Thursday A&M will face Winthrop (11-10) at 4 p.m. The Aggies will then play No. 18 Hawaii at 11:30 p.m. Friday before playing a rematch against Marist on Saturday at 4 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT
Last weekend the Aggies hosted the Aggie Invitational, going undefeated in two games and cancelling three due to persistent rain.
A&M defeated Monmouth, 6-5 in game one as sophomore Cassie Tysarczyk went 3-for-3 with two RBI on a home run, two singles and a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch that forced in the walk-off run. In game two, the Aggies shut out North Dakota State, 6-0. Hurler Mel Dumezich struck out struck out eight and gave up just one hit for her third shutout of the season while Tysarczyk hit the Aggies’ first triple of the season for another pair of RBI.
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 several of the Aggies’ games live locally on Sports Radio 1150 AM. Each A&M game this week will be featured on 95.1-3 The Zone HD, making it available worldwide on any Smartphone or HD radio. Log on to RadioAggieland.com for more information.
AGGIES IN THE POLLS
Texas A&M is ranked 21st in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Poll and 22nd in the USA Today/NFCA rankings. The Aggies’ remaining 2012 opponents appearing in the polls are No. 2/1 California, No. 6/6 Texas, No. 7/7 Oklahoma, No. 12/12 Missouri, No. 15/16 Baylor and No. 18/19 Hawaii. In addition, Oklahoma State and Kansas are receiving votes.
The Aggies will kick off Big 12 play next weekend with a three-game series at home against No. 12 Missouri on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A&M will then host a single game against Baylor on Wednesday, March 28.
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.
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. 1 Golden Bears are undefeated this season at 21-0, with 14 players batting above .300 and nine bettering .400. Cal ended the 2011 season at the Women’s College World Series (WCWS) for the 11th time, garnering a 45-13 record. This season Valerie Arioto leads the way with a .500 average, collecting 29 runs on 22 hits, including four doubles and nine home runs for 31 RBI. Arioto is also helping the Bears from the circle with a 9-0 record and a 1.00 ERA in 56 innings of work. The standout has struck out 68 batters while giving up eight earned runs on 29 hits and walking 10.
The Aggies are 10-4 over Cal and have won the past two meetings, including a 3-2 victory in 2010.
Marist was 33-22 in 2011 and tied for second in the Metro Atlantic conference with a 12-4 record. The Red Foxes are 6-9 this season with Ashley Corriss leading the way for the offense. Corriss is hitting .333 in 15 games with nine runs and six RBI on 16 hits, including one double and one triple. Nicole DiVirgilio (.292) leads the team with 11 RBI. Melanie White owns a 3.86 ERA in 29.0 innings in the circle, fanning 16 batters while giving up 18 runs on 34 hits and walking 14.
This is the first meeting between A&M and Marist.
The Eagles are 11-10 this season. Megan Chapman tops the Winthrop offense with a .388 batting average, collecting 11 runs on 26 hits. Chelsey Schoenfeldt is close behind with a .383 average, hitting four doubles and two home runs for 16 RBI. Natalie Becker (3.26) and Schoenfeldt (3.88) are both 5-5 this season in the circle. Becker has fanned a team-high 65 batters and owns two solo shutouts.
The Aggies and Eagles have never competed.
The Rainbow Warriors (21-0) are ranked 18th in the nation with a perfect record. Jessica Iwata (.443) and Leisha Li’ili’I (.442) are neck-and-neck to lead the Hawaii offense. Iwata has 27 RBI on the season after collecting 27 hits and 15 runs. Li’ili’I has 23 hits, including six home runs, scoring 11 runs and picking up 23 RBI. Kaia Parnaby (9-0) and Stephanie Ricketts (12-0) are hot in the circle, each recording ERAs under 1.00 this season. Ricketts has fanned a team-high 96 batters in 76 innings of work, giving up just nine earned runs for six solo shutouts.
The Aggies own a 3-2 all-time record over Hawaii. The teams last met in a pair of games in 1999, resulting in a 4-3 victory and a 3-8 loss for A&M.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
The Aggies are 11-1 at home this season, and 38-1 in the last 37 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.
The Aggies are among the best in the nation in several categories this season, through games of March 11. The team is ranked No. 28 in home runs per game (0.95). Sophomore Emily Albus is ranked No. 20 in the nation with a .471 batting average. Junior Meagan May has drawn a national second-high 1.18 walks per game and juniors Brittany Walker and Sydney Shannon are ranked sixth and ninth, respectively, in sacrifice hits per game. Dumezich is among the top 25 in the nation in three categories, with 111 strikeouts (15th), seven home runs (25th) and 10 victories (21st).
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 or basketball 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.