COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 16 Texas A&M softball team (33-16, 13-8 Big 12) will host Kansas (31-17, 6-14 Big 12) in the Aggies’ final three home games of the regular season, this weekend at the Aggie Softball Complex.
The Aggies and Jayhawks will play a three-game conference series, starting with a 7 p.m. matchup on Friday. Game two will follow on Saturday at 3 p.m., and the series finale is set for an 11 a.m. first pitch on Sunday.
LAST TIME OUT
The Aggies dropped only their second conference series of the season, falling two-games-to-one to then-No. 7 Texas. The Aggies slammed the Longhorns in game one at home in front of a national audience on ESPN2. The 9-0 run-rule victory was shadowed by a pair of one-run losses in Austin, but the big scoring gap in game one sent the Longhorns south in the polls while A&M remained at No. 16 this week.
FOLLOW THE ACTION
Live stats and live audio are 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. Each game this weekend will be featured locally on Sports Radio 1150 AM. Log on to RadioAggieland.com for more information.
Sunday is Senior Day at the Aggie Softball Complex. Fans are encouraged to stay after the game to honor the three softball seniors. Immediately after the final out, join head coach Jo Evans as she recognizes Kelsea Orsak, Lindsey Sisk and Natalie Villarreal.
AGGIES IN THE POLLS
Texas A&M is ranked 16th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Poll and 18th in the USA Today/NFCA rankings. Kansas is receiving votes in one poll.
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 close out the 2012 regular season in Boise, Idaho, with the three-game nonconference series at Boise State.
NCAA SELECTION SHOW
A&M will learn its postseason fate on Monday, May 14 at 9 p.m. in the NCAA Division I Softball Selection Show on ESPNU. NCAA Regional competition will take place at campus sites May 18-20.
Sophomore Nicole Morgan took Big 12 Co-Player of the Week honors for the first time in her career this week. The infielder was 5-for-8 from the plate against a pair of Top 25 opponents in No. 25 Baylor and No. 7 Texas. Her .625 average led the team to a pair of run-rule conference victories. Morgan drew five walks on the week, including a career-best three in the series finale vs. the Longhorns. Her three home runs helped her tally five RBI and five runs this week, again tying a career high two runs against Baylor and in game three vs. Texas.
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.
HOME RUN HITTERS
The Aggies have hit 53 home runs so far this season, including four grand slams. The Aggies have had at least one long ball in each of their last six games and hit 12 last week alone. Over half of A&M’s bombs – 24 – have been slugged during conference play. Dumezich leads the team and is in double digits with 12 home runs this season, three of them grand slams.
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 Jayhawks (31-17, 6-14 Big 12) split games with No. 24 Texas Tech in Lawrence this weekend, dropping game one before winning in game two in a 5-4 walk-off on Senior Day. The series finale was cancelled due to inclement weather. Maggie Hull leads the team with an impressive .417 average, owning 14 doubles and seven home runs while also leading the team with 45 runs scored. Hull also records 34 RBI and 102 total bases this season. Ahsley Newman is also of note, stealing 21 bases in as many attempts. Alicia Pille (17-10) has received the most nods in the circle, posting a 2.43 ERA in 37 appearances. Pille has eight solo shutouts this season in 158.2 innings of work, throwing 164 strikeouts and giving up 55 earned run on 125 hits and 66 walks.
A&M holds a 47-17 all-time record over Kansas and has won 18 of the last 19 meetings, including the last four. Last season the Aggies traveled to Lawrence and won 3-2 in game one before taking a five-inning run-rule, 13-0 in game two.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
The Aggies are 17-4 at home this season, and 44-4 in the last 48 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 May 1), A&M sits at No. 9 in the nation, behind only two Big 12 schools – No. 4 Texas and No. 5 Oklahoma. The Aggies are among the best in the nation in several categories this season, through games of April 29. As a team, A&M ranks 14th in fielding percentage (.974) and 20th in home runs per game (1.08). Junior Meagan May has drawn a national fifth-highest 0.92 walks per game. Dumezich is among the top 20 in the nation in two categories, with 24 victories (16th) and 261 strikeouts (13th).
The Aggies are also among the best in the conference in all games in several areas, as of April 29. May’s 45 walks top the competition, while Dumezich ranks fifth with 33 walks. The right-hander leads the league in innings pitched (232.0), appearances (41) and games started (33), and is second in strikeouts (261) and wins (24). Sophomore Emily Albus ranks fifth with a .388 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 second in total plate appearances (187) and leads the league in at bats (161). As a team, A&M has more walks (201) and sacrifice bunts (51), and a better fielding percentage (.974) than any other team in the league and is second in total plate appearances (1558), at bats (1276), putouts (1009) and innings pitched (336.1).
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.