COLLEGE STATION, TX – The 19th-ranked Texas A&M softball team (20-8) hosts No. 10 Missouri (22-3) in the Aggies’ first Big 12 series of the season this weekend at the Aggie Softball Complex.
The Aggies and Tigers will battle through a three-game series with matchups at 7 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday and noon on Sunday. Each of the games will be broadcast live on 95.1-3 The Zone HD. Live video will also be available on AggieAthletics.com.
LAST TIME OUT
The Aggies are coming off of a fantastic week in paradise, going 4-1 at Hawaii’s Chevron Spring Fling tournament. A&M’s only blemish was a 0-3 loss to then-No. 1 California. The Aggies defeated Marist (5-0 and 14-2), Winthrop (8-2) and No. 18 host school Hawaii (3-1), outhitting opponents 46-21 and outscoring opponents 30-8.
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. Log on to RadioAggieland.com for more information.
AGGIES IN THE POLLS
Texas A&M is ranked 19th 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. 6/5 Texas, No. 7/7 Oklahoma, No. 10/10 Missouri and No. 15/18 Baylor. In addition, Oklahoma State and Kansas are receiving votes.
The Aggies will continue Big 12 play at home, hosting a single game against Baylor on Wednesday, March 28.
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 10th-ranked Tigers (22-3, 3-0 Big 12) are on a 17-game winning streak and haven’t allowed a run in the last 54.1 innings, recently sweeping Kansas (RV) in Missouri’s first conference series of the season. Eight Mizzou players are bettering .300 from the plate, with Ashley Fleming (.405) leading the way. Fleming has started in each game this season, collecting 21 runs and 21 RBI on 30 hits, including four doubles and six home runs. Chelsea Thomas (11-1) owns a 0.54 ERA after throwing 89 strikeouts and giving up just five earned runs on 24 hits in 64.1 innings of work in the circle. Thomas has thrown seven solo shutouts and has had a hand in three combined shutouts. The right hander hasn’t allowed an earned run since Feb. 26 (45.1 innings) when she gave up the only five she’s allowed this season.
The Aggies are 29-24 over Mizzou, dating back to 1981. Last season the Tigers defeated the Aggies in a pair of games in Columbia, Mo., taking game one. 6-3, and game two, 3-0. Though this is A&M’s last year in the Big 12, this won’t be the last season of conference games between the two teams, as Missouri will also enter the SEC for the 2013 season.
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 18. Sophomore Emily Albus is ranked No. 13 in the nation with a .478 batting average, while juniors Brittany Walker (5) and Sydney Shannon (15) rank among the top 20 in sacrifice hits per game and junior Meagan May has drawn a national second-high 1.18 walks per game. Dumezich is among the top 30 in the nation in three categories, with 144 strikeouts (9th), eight home runs (27th) and 12 victories (20th).
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.