COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The 14th-ranked Texas A&M softball team (29-13, 9-5 Big 12) heads to Lubbock this week to play a three-game conference series with Texas Tech (34-10, 7-5 Big 12) at Rocky Johnson Field.
A Tuesday doubleheader between the Aggies and Red Raiders features 5 and 7 p.m. starts. The series finale is set for a 5 p.m. first pitch on Wednesday.
LAST TIME OUT
The Aggies dropped their first conference series, losing two games to conference-leading and sixth-ranked Oklahoma, 1-6 and 2-5, before defeating the Sooners in a 4-0 shutout in game three. Junior Mel Dumezich earned the win and contributed a solo home run in the series finale, and sophomore Nicole Morgan’s three-RBI single plated the game-winning run.
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 all of the Aggies’ games live on 95.1-3 The Zone HD, making it available worldwide on any Smartphone or HD radio. Game two this week will be featured locally on Sports Radio 1150 AM. Log on to RadioAggieland.com for more information.
AGGIES IN THE POLLS
Texas A&M is ranked 14th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Poll and 17th in the USA Today/NFCA rankings. The Aggies’ remaining 2012 opponents appearing in the polls are No. 5/5 Texas and No. 23/25 Baylor.
To make up for the loss of earlier games due to inclement weather, the Aggies will travel to Boise, Idaho to play Boise State, May 10, 11 and 12. The Aggies and Broncos will face off each day at 5 p.m. CST at the Mountain Cove Softball Field in Boise.
The Aggies return to College Station to host No. 23 Baylor next Tuesday. First pitch at the Aggie Softball Complex is set for 6:30 p.m.
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 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.
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 TEXAS TECH
The Red Raiders (34-10, 7-5) have proved they are a force to be reckoned with, winning several conference upsets this season. This week they topped No. 5 Texas, 5-2 at home before taking a 2-1 series victory over No. 9 Missouri in Columbia, Mo. Adriana Perez is leading the team with a .385 average this season, pounding 13 home runs and six doubles for 44 RBI and 14 runs. She was named the Big 12 Co-Player of the Week on April 3. Brittany Talley (10-2) and Cara Custer (20-7) have split time in the circle, bringing up 1.89 and 2.33 ERAs, respectively. Custer has thrown a team-high 121 strikeouts and owns five solo shutouts in 14 complete games.
A&M leads the all-time series over Texas Tech, 24-12. The Aggies swept the 2011 series between the two teams, 2-0 in College Station.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
The Aggies are 15-4 at home this season, and 42-4 in the last 46 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 (through April 8), A&M sits at No. 17 in the nation, behind only three Big 12 schools – No. 4 Texas, No. 8 Oklahoma and No. 14 Missouri. The Aggies are among the best in the nation in several categories this season, through games of April 8. As a team, A&M ranks 20th in fielding percentage (.974), 33rd in win-loss percentage (0.711) and 28th in home runs per game (0.97). Junior Meagan May has drawn a national second-highest 1.08 walks per game. Dumezich is among the top 30 in the nation in three categories, with 212 strikeouts (7th), 19 victories (10th) and 4.5 hits allowed per seven innings (28th). Dumezich also ranks 36th in strikeouts per seven innings (8.3).
The Aggies are also among the best in the conference in all games in several areas, as of April 14. May’s 41 walks top the competition, and her .500 on base percentage this season ranks third, while Dumezich ranks third with 29 walks. The right-hander leads the league in wins (21), innings pitched (199.2), appearances (35) and games started (28), and is second in strikeouts (234). Sophomore Emily Albus ranks second with 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 (158) and at bats (135). As a team, A&M has more walks (165), sacrifice bunts (47) and innings pitched (293.0) than any other team in the league and is second only to Texas Tech in at bats (1080), while tying for first with the Red Raiders in plate appearances (1317). The Aggies also rank second in batters struck out (302) and first with 879 putouts.
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.