COLLEGE STATION, TX -- The No. 21 Texas A&M softball team (14-7) hosts its final tournament of the season, the Aggie Invitational, this weekend.
The Aggies, who have just one blemish on their home record this season, will welcome Liberty (6-4), Monmouth (3-1) and North Dakota State (12-8) to the four-day tournament at the Aggie Softball Complex.
LAST TIME OUT
Last weekend the Aggies hosted the Texas A&M Invitational, going 4-1 and breaking a program-best 34-game home winning streak that dated back to April 25, 2010.
A&M defeated then-No. 24 Nebraska in a pair of games and took a victory over Texas State, while splitting games with Houston. Junior Mel Dumezich went 5-0 on the week from the circle, fanning 32 batters in 30 innings of work while giving up just four earned runs. Sophomore Emily Albus hit .524 in six starts, going 11-for-21 with 11 base hits and a pair of RBI while scoring three runs.
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 weekend will be featured on 95.1-3 The Zone HD, making it available worldwide on any Smartphone or HD radio. The Aggies’ Saturday game vs. Liberty will also be broadcast locally on Sports Radio 1150 AM. Log on to RadioAggieland.com for more information.
The first 150 fans to enter the Aggie Softball Complex on Thursday will receive FREE t-shirts, while two kids will get in free with the purchase of one adult ticket during the game vs. Monmouth as a part of the Take Me Out to the Ballgame promotion.
On Saturday, all club softball players, ages 12-and-under, wearing their team jersey will receive FREE admission to each of the four games. Parents, coaches and players over 12 must pay for a ticket.
AGGIES IN THE POLLS
Texas A&M is ranked 21st 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. 2/1 California, No. 6/7 Texas, No. 8/8 Oklahoma, No. 12/12 Missouri, No. 15/16 Baylor and No. 19/19 Hawaii. In addition, Oklahoma State and Kansas are receiving votes.
The Aggies will travel to Honolulu, Hawaii next week to play No. 1 Cal, Marist, Winthrop and No. 19 Hawaii in the 2012 Chevron Spring Fling Tournament.
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 Flames (6-4) are off to a good start this season, with seven players hitting above .300. Kelby Allen (.550) leads the starters with four runs on 11 hits, including a pair of doubles, a triple and a home run for nine RBI, and is followed by Katie Zavodny (.469) with nine runs on 15 hits. Alyssa DiMartino and Chandler Ball each own 3-2 records after splitting time in the circle. DiMartino records a 5.53 ERA after giving up 30 earned runs on 53 hits while walking nine and striking out 14 in eight appearances. Ball is throwing 7.28 with 26 earned runs on 31 hits after fanning 19 and walking 18 in seven appearances.
The Aggies are 2-0 over the Flames in the only two meetings between the teams. A&M and Liberty last met in 2011, resulting in a 4-0 victory for the Aggies on a Dumezich two-run bomb.
The Hawks (3-1) have played just four games this season and are on the right track. Vanessa Cardoza is having a fantastic offensive start, hitting .625 with five runs on 10 hits, including three doubles, for five RBI. Cardoza is just one of seven Monmouth players hitting above .300 and is joined in the .500+ category by Kayla Weiser (eight hits, six runs, five RBI) and Colleen Kelly. Lauren Sulick (2-0) has pitched eight innings, giving up three earned runs on nine hits while striking out four. Jordan Barnett (0-1) has a 2.84 ERA after throwing eight strikeouts and giving up five earned runs on 20 hits in 12 1/3 innings.
The Aggies have hosted the Hawks in two separate tournaments and lead Monmouth with a 3-0 all-time record. The teams last met in a single game in 2010 that ended in five innings with a 10-0 A&M run-rule victory.
SCOUTING NORTH DAKOTA STATE
The Bison (12-8) have been on the road all season, playing in tournaments in California, Florida, Alabama and Arizona before heading to Texas. Taylor Mortensen leads the team with a .339 average after collecting 19 hits, including four doubles, two triples and two homers, and 13 RBI while scoring 13 runs. Amanda Grable (.290) has a team-leading 15 RBI after hitting four doubles and three home runs. Whitney Johnson (8-5) owns a 2.29 ERA in the circle after recording a pair of solo shutouts. Johnson has thrown 113 strikeouts in 82 2/3 innings of work, giving up 27 earned runs on 58 hits while walking 38.
The Bison also attended a 2010 tournament at the Aggie Softball Complex, dropping a pair of games to A&M as the Aggies lead the all-time series between the schools, 2-0.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
The Aggies are 9-1 at home this season, and 36-1 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 consistently found themselves among the best in the nation in several categories last season. In the final NCAA Statistical Ranking Summary, A&M ranked 29th in ERA (1.95), 28th in fielding percentage (0.971), 27th in scoring (5.59), 20th in win-loss percentage (0.746), fifth in home runs per game (1.37) and 19th in slugging percentage (0.497). Individually, Rhi Kliesing was 13th in home runs and 24th in home runs per game (0.31) while May was ranked 33rd. May was also 30th in RBI per game (1.02). May’s 0.77 walks per game on average were 21st in the nation and her four sacrifice flies ranked 18th. From the circle, Dumezich ranked 13th in victories (30), 31st in hits per seven innings (4.72), 33rd in strikeouts (262) and 12th in shutouts (12).
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.