COLLEGE STATION, TX -- The No. 15 Texas A&M softball team (22-9, 2-1 Big 12) continues conference play Wednesday, hosting regional rival No. 17 Baylor (22-8, 1-2 Big 12) at 6:30 p.m. at the Aggie Softball Complex.
The Aggies and Lady Bears’ three game conference series will be split into three separate dates this season, with the Aggies hosting two and Baylor hosting one. Game two, in Waco, will be on Tuesday, April 10, and the teams will return to College Station to close out the series on Tuesday, April 24.
LAST TIME OUT
The Aggies are coming off of a strong Big 12 opening weekend, going 2-1 against then-No. 10 conference-leader Missouri. Junior Mel Dumezich went head-to-head against Tiger All-American Chelsea Thomas on Friday and Sunday and won both games. Thomas had allowed no earned runs in 45.1 innings pitched before Dumezich jacked a home run out of the park in the first inning on Friday to break the streak. The Aggies also broke Mizzou’s 17-game winning streak with the 2-1 victory.
A shaky second inning in Saturday’s game gave Missouri a 6-1 lead but the Aggies slowly chipped away at the deficit, hitting four home runs on the game. A&M came up short and dropped game two, 6-5, but never stopped fighting and immediately looked ahead to Sunday’s action.
Game three proved that the Aggies were ready to work hard for the series victory. Dumezich threw a one-hitter and gave up no runs for her first conference shutout victory of the season. The game entered extra innings with both teams scoreless and the Aggies broke up Thomas’ no hitter in the bottom of the inning. Sophomore Cassie Tysarczyk reached on a double, A&M’s first hit of the game, and was pushed ahead on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Taran Tyler. With a runner on third, sophomore Jenna Stark hit her first career double, a shot to right-center that scored Tysarczyk for the walk-off, extra inning, shutout victory.
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. The game Wednesday 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 15th in both the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Poll and the USA Today/NFCA rankings. The Aggies’ remaining 2012 opponents appearing in the polls are No. 6/6 Texas, No. 7/7 Oklahoma and No. 17/20 Baylor. In addition, Kansas is receiving votes.
The Aggies will take to the road for their first conference series outside of College Station. A&M will travel to Stillwater, Okla., for a trio of games against Oklahoma State. The Aggies and Cowgirls will face off at 7 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday. All three matchups can be heard live on Sports Radio 1150 AM and AggieAthletics.com.
Dumezich’s outstanding performance against Missouri this weekend, both from the circle and from the plate, earned her national recognition, as she was named the College Sports Madness Softball Big 12 Player of the Week. This is the junior right-hander’s first weekly accolade of the season.
Junior Mel 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 against No. 18 Hawaii on March 16. The right-hander struck out 14 batters while walking just two batters and giving up just three hits in the upset victory.
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 Baylor Lady Bears enter this series with a 22-8 overall record, and a 1-2 record in conference play. Last weekend the Lady Bears went 1-2 against seventh-ranked Oklahoma. Baylor had a tough time getting the offense rolling in that series, only scoring one run in a 1-0 victory Sunday. Pitching for the Lady Bears this season has been outstanding. The staff was led by Whitney Canion (5-1), who was posting a .35 ERA with 66 strikeouts on 40 innings pitched when her season was sadly cut short due to an injury. Taking the majority of the pitching responsibilities for the Lady Bears is Courtney Repka who has a 10-3 record with a .81 ERA, 41 strikeouts, and 95.3 innings of work. The team’s offense has really set the tone for the season with an average of .264. Leading the way for the Lady Bears is Kathy Shelton, who is hitting .386 with 25 runs scored, one home run, and 11 RBI. Defensively, the Lady Bears have committed 25 errors on the season, giving them a .972 fielding percentage. On the base paths Baylor is quick, stealing 49 bases on 55 attempts for the season, and is led by Shelton with 17.
The Aggies are 55-21-1 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. In game one A&M dropped a 2-1, 11th-inning heartbreaker in Waco. The Aggies got their revenge in College Station, the next day, however, defeating the 15th-ranked Lady Bears, 6-5 on a walk-off home run by then-freshman Nicole Morgan.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
The Aggies are 13-2 at home this season, and 40-2 in the last 42 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, A&M sits at No. 12 in the nation, behind only one Big 12 school – No. 8 Texas. The Aggies are among the best in the nation in several categories this season, through games of March 18. As a team, A&M ranks 33rd in fielding percentage (.971), 37th in win-loss percentage (0.71) and 24th in home runs per game (0.97). Junior Sydney Shannon ranks 17th in sacrifice hits per game (0.3), and junior Meagan May has drawn a national third-highest 1.03 walks per game. Dumezich is among the top 25 in the nation in three categories, with 159 strikeouts (10th), nine home runs (25th) and 14 victories (14th).
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.