COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The No. 10 (RPI final) Texas A&M softball team announced its 2013 schedule today. The Aggies will play in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) for the first time this season, and will host four league series at the Aggie Softball Complex.
The Aggies will play 53 regular-season games in 2013, 29 of those being in the friendly confines of the Aggie Softball Complex. A&M's challenging schedule includes matchups against three conference champions, 11 NCAA Regional teams, five NCAA Super Regional teams and three Women's College World Series (WCWS) teams from the 2012 season, including reigning National Champion Alabama.
Of the 22 different known teams the Aggies will play in 2013, 10 ended the 2012 season in the top 50 in national RPI standings, six are in the top 25 and two are in the top five. The average final RPI for the Aggies' opponents this season is 56, while the average RPI for the SEC teams A&M will play is 27. Only one SEC school on the Aggies' schedule - No. 92 Ole Miss - did not make the final RPI top 50 in 2012.
The team will begin its quest for a trip to Oklahoma City at the Stacy Winsberg Tournament in Los Angeles, Feb. 8-10, beginning with games against a pair of NCAA Tournament competitors in Long Beach State, the 2012 Big West Champions, and host school UCLA. The Aggies will also play Cal State Bakersfield and Wright State in L.A. before closing out the tournament with another game vs. the Bruins.
A&M will return to Texas on Feb. 13 to play a game at Sam Houston State before hosting a 12-game home stand that begins with the Aggies' first tournament of the season, the Aggie Classic, Feb. 15-17. The Aggies will play a five game slate against 2012 Regional competitors North Carolina, and Pittsburgh and Stephen F. Austin. The Ladyjacks will return to College Station after the tournament to play the Aggies in another pair of games in the form of a Feb. 20 doubleheader.
The home stand continues Feb. 22-24 with the Texas A&M Invitational. The Aggies' final home tournament of the regular season features Purdue, Southeastern Louisiana and UTSA. A&M will then host Sam Houston on Feb. 27 before taking to the road for eight games.
The Aggies travel to Orlando, Fla., March 1-3, to compete in the Citrus Classic. Opponents for the tournament are to be determined.
In the team's first SEC series, A&M will challenge former Big 12 foe and fellow SEC newcomer Missouri in Columbia, Mo., March 8-10. The Tigers were the No. 9 seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament and hosted a Regional and a Super Regional site, eventually falling to 2012 College Station Regional Champions LSU. Each SEC series will be a three-game slate played out in Friday-Saturday-Sunday format.
Aggieland will get its first taste of SEC softball March 15-17 when the Aggies host NCAA Tournament team Arkansas at the Aggie Softball Complex.
A&M will continue conference action when it travels to Knoxville, Tenn., to play 2012 WCWS team Tennessee in three games, March 22-24.
The Aggies return home to host Texas State, who won the 2012 Southland Conference Championship played in the College Station Regional last season, in a single game on March 26. After the quick conference break, the team will get down to business as it hosts reigning SEC Champion and National Champion Alabama in an SEC series, March 29-31 at the Aggie Softball Complex.
The Aggies will get another break from SEC action after the series with the Crimson Tide as they host Colorado State in a three-game matchup, April 5-7, before challenging Lamar to an April 9 doubleheader. The Cardinals return to the softball diamond for the 2013 season after a hiatus of more than 20 years.
LSU will return to the Aggie Softball Complex, April 12-14, for the first time since knocking the Aggies out of the NCAA Tournament in the College Station Regional in May. The Tigers ended the 2012 season in the WCWS and have played A&M in the NCAA Regional for the past three seasons before the Aggies joined the SEC.
Another single game against Texas State, in San Marcos on April 16, will again break up the SEC schedule. The Aggies will then head to Athens, Ga., to challenge 2012 Super Regional team Georgia in a conference series.
The games against the Bulldogs will be followed by another SEC road series in Oxford, Miss., when A&M plays Ole Miss, April 26-28.
The Aggies will end the 2013 regular season at home against NCAA Regional team and SEC competitor Mississippi State, May 3-5.
The 2013 SEC Softball Tournament will be hosted by Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., May 8-11. The top eight teams will compete for the conference crown and an automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Alabama won the tournament last season in Tuscaloosa, Ala., after entering as the No. 1 seed.
The Aggies will vie for their 12th straight and 24th overall berth into the NCAA Tournament, which will take place May 17-June 5 this year. Regionals will be hosted at campus sites May 17-19, followed by NCAA Super Regionals, also at campus sites, May 23-26. The 2013 WCWS will take place in Oklahoma City, May 28-June 5.
A&M ended the 2012 season as the host of the College Station Regional after receiving a No. 8 seeding in the NCAA Tournament. The team owns a No. 10 final RPI ranking and was ranked No. 19 in both the NFCA/USA Today and ESPN.com/USA Softball final national polls. A 41-18 record gave the Aggies their seventh 40-win season under head coach Jo Evans.
Ticket information for the 2013 Aggie softball season will be available at a later date. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.