COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The 21st-ranked Texas A&M softball team (9-6) travels to Huntsville tomorrow to face Sam Houston State (1-9) in the final game of a two-contest series against the Bearkats at 4 p.m. at the Sam Houston State Softball Stadium.
LAST TIME OUT
Last weekend the Aggies went 1-4 against opponents at the Cathedral City Classic, including No. 1 Florida and No. 5 Washington. A&M avenged their first loss of the season, vs. BYU, in a 14-8 extra-inning victory. Junior Mel Dumezich hit two grand slams against the Cougars to tie an NCAA single-game record and pick up a career-high eight 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. Wednesday’s game 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.
TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME
As part of the Take Me Out to the Ballgame promotion, two kids will get in free with the purchase of one adult ticket every Sunday. Fans can also enjoy the same deal during the Thursday, March 8 game vs. Monmouth.
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. 8/9 Oklahoma, No. 13/13 Missouri, No. 10/11 Baylor, No. 6/6 Texas, No. 23 Oklahoma State, No. 24 Nebraska and No. 22/22 Hawaii. In addition Houston and Nebraska are receiving votes.
The Aggies will return to College Station to host Houston, No. 24 Nebraska and Texas State in the Texas A&M Invitational this weekend. A&M will play five games in the tournament, starting with a 3 p.m. Friday game vs. the Huskers.
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.
SCOUTING SAM HOUSTON STATE
The Bearkats are suffering a down season under head coach Bob Brock, as they are currently 1-9. The team has 12 of 14 letterwinners returning, and seven newcomers. Junior Tori Benavidez is the team’s top returner, after being named to the 2012 Preseason All-Southland team. The infielder owns a .364 average on 12 hits this season. Another key is Kim Damian, who leads the team with a .429 average, 15 hits and 10 RBI from the plate. Shelby Lancaster (0-3) has spent 20.2 innings in the circle, allowing 23 hits and 11 earned runs for a 3.73 ERA, while striking out six. Tomi Garrison (1-4) has fanned 23 batters on the season and gave up 26 earned runs in 28.1 innings for a 6.42 ERA.
A&M holds an 86-13 all-time mark against the Bearkats, winning the last 39 contests that date back to 1995. The teams last met on Feb. 15 in the Aggies’ home opener. A&M won the game, 4-2, on a grand slam by Dumezich.
Brock and assistant coach Adrian Gregory both have ties to A&M. Brock coached the Aggies for 15 years, winning a trio of National Championships with the Maroon and White. The Bearkats' skipper was inducted into the Texas A&M Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006. Gregory graced the Aggie softball roster from 2001-05, leading the team as a captain and earning ESPN/CoSIDA Academic All-Region and Academic All-Big 12 honors. The shortstop was also named All-Big 12 as a junior in 2004.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
The Aggies are on a program-best 32-game home winning streak, starting April 25, 2010. The streak is 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.