COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The 14th-ranked Texas A&M softball team (36-16, 16-8 Big 12) travels to Boise, Idaho, this weekend to face Boise State (34-17, 8-4 Mountain West) in the Aggies’ final three games of the regular season.
The Aggies and Broncos will play a three-game nonconference series at the Mountain Cove Softball Field, each beginning at 5 p.m. CST, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
LAST TIME OUT
The Aggies ended Big 12 play with their second conference sweep, taking Kansas (RV) in three games at the Aggie Softball Complex. The Aggies won on two shutouts and a one-run comeback to rise to second in conference standings. In Sunday’s 9-0 run-rule victory, pitchers Mel Dumezich and Lindsey Sisk combined for a no-hitter on Senior Day. Dumezich started the game, throwing three perfect innings and striking out five batters.
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 AggieAthletics.com or 95.1-3 The Zone HD, making it available worldwide on any Smartphone or HD radio.. Log on to RadioAggieland.com for more information.
NCAA SELECTION SHOW
A&M will learn its postseason fate on Sunday, May 13 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.
AGGIES IN THE POLLS
Texas A&M is ranked 14th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Poll and 16th in the USA Today/NFCA rankings. This season, the Aggies faced 12 top 25 teams in 23 contests, coming out ahead at 14-9. A&M was 6-8 against top 10 opponents and fell to two No. 1 schools, Florida and California. Of the Aggies’ conference foes, five were ranked at the time of play, three of them in the top 10. A&M only dropped two conference series, both to top 10 teams and never suffered a sweep.
Dumezich took Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honors for the second time this season and the fourth time in her career after an outstanding weekend against Kansas (RV). The right-handed ace was almost perfect from the circle all weekend, owning a 2-0 record in two starts while throwing 11 shutout innings and giving up just four hits by the Jayhawks. In Sunday’s 9-0 run-rule, Dumezich combined with senior Lindsey Sisk for a no-hitter, starting the game and throwing three perfect innings with five strikeouts. The junior never walked a batter and fanned 16 in the effort. Dumezich was also crucial from the plate, hitting .500 on the weekend as she scored on a solo home run each day. She was a weekend-best 2-for-3 on Sunday with a bomb and a base hit. In the Aggies’ Saturday comeback win, Dumezich hit the game winner, a solo shot over left-center, before finishing the game in the circle with a pair of strikeouts in one inning of work.
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 59 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 18 in the last two weeks alone. Over half of A&M’s bombs – 30 – have been slugged during conference play. Dumezich leads the team with 15 home runs this season, three of them grand slams. May is also in double digits with 10 long balls.
Evans welcomed 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) put on the Maroon & White in 2012.
SCOUTING BOISE STATE
The Broncos (34-17, 8-4 Mountain West) are coming off of a conference series victory over San Diego State and are in contention for the Mountain West title with SDSU and Colorado State. Thought the Boise State softball program is only four years old, the team is solid and was the Western Athletic Conference runner-up in 2011. Boise State is 0-7 against Big 12 teams and 3-6 all-time vs. top-25 opponents. The Broncos recently ended a 28-game home winning streak. Leading the team from the plate this season is Tara Glover, who boasts a .483 average on 84 hits (14 doubles, 4 triples, 7 home runs), 50 runs, 27 RBI and 17 stolen bases. The Broncos are hitting just under .300 as a team. In the circle, Aubray Zell (20-11) records a 2.30 ERA in 35 appearances, and was named the MW Pitcher of the Week for the fifth time this week. She has struck out 169 batters in 194.2 innings of work and owns four solo shutouts and combines for two. The Aggies and Broncos have never met on the diamond.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
The Aggies ended the regular season with a 20-4 home record, and were 47-4 at the Aggie Softball Complex in the last 51 games. A&M ended a program-best 34-game home winning streak this season, 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 7), A&M sits at No. 9 in the nation, behind only two Big 12 schools – No. 5 Texas and No. 4 Oklahoma. The Aggies are among the best in the nation in several categories this season, through games of May 6. As a team, A&M ranks 16th in fielding percentage (.974), 38th in win-loss percentage (.692), 33rd in slugging percentage (.458) and 18th in home runs per game (1.13). May has drawn a national third-highest 0.98 walks per game. Dumezich is among the top 35 in the nation in four categories, with 0.29 home runs per game (35th), 26 victories (12th), 15 home runs (29th) and 277 strikeouts (10th).
The Aggies are also among the best in the conference in all games in several areas, as of May 7. May’s 51 walks top the competition and she ranks third in on base percentage (.487), while Dumezich ranks sixth with 33 walks and third with 15 home runs. The right-hander leads the league in innings pitched (243.0), wins (26), appearances (44) and games started (34), and is second in strikeouts (277). Sophomore Emily Albus ranks fifth with a .387 batting average and is second with 58 hits and 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 (197) and leads the league in at bats (171). As a team, A&M has more walks (220), sacrifice bunts (53) and total plate appearances (1650) than any other team in the league.
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.
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.