COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 13 Texas A&M softball team (17-4) opens Southeastern Conference play this weekend at home against 15th-ranked Missouri (12-3). The Aggies and Tigers start the three-game series Friday at 7 p.m. Games two and three are slated for 4 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday, respectively.
Fans can follow this weekend’s action by listening to the live audio broadcast worldwide on AggieAthletics.com or RadioAggieland.com via 95.1-3 The Zone HD. Sunday’s game can also be heard locally on Sports Radio 1150 AM. Each game this season can be heard worldwide on HD radio or smartphone via 95.1-3 The Zone HD. Download the Radio Aggieland app to listen to the games, or tune in online. Select games this season can also be heard in the Bryan-College Station area on Sports Radio 1150 AM.
Instantaneous live mobile stats can be seen from any mobile device, as well as any computer at TAMUstats.com. Live stats will also be available for every game of the 2014 season through AggieAthletics.com. Click on the live stats link on the Aggie softball schedule page any time after first pitch to follow the action.
In celebration of the Aggies’ SEC opener, fans can enjoy postgame fireworks at the ballpark on Friday night. Stick around after the final out to watch the fireworks display.
1,000 Wins Cards
Softball cards commemorating Head Coach Jo Evans’ 1000th career victory last weekend will be available for fans at the 12th Man Rewards table while supplies last.
Come to each Friday home game covered in maroon and you could win a prize, and be entered into a grand prize drawing that will be announced at the end of the season.
Also on Fridays, get ready for Softball Bingo by picking up a card at the 12th Man Rewards table to play along. The first three single bingo winners will receive a prize, and the first blackout card wins a team-autographed softball or poster
Junior Aggie Club Days
Junior Aggie Club members can have a good time on the concourse, with inflatables, poster making and face tattoos. In the event of a doubleheader, JAC Days will only take place before the first game. To join the Junior Aggie Club for just $25, go to www.JuniorAggieClub.com.
JAC Drawstring Bag Giveaway
Junior Aggie Club members will receive a FREE drawstring bag at Saturday’s game against Missouri.
Steal Home Saturdays
Kids are invited to run the bases following the conclusion of each Saturday game. In the event of a doubleheader, this will only take place following the second game.
Take a Kid to the Ballgame
Children under 12 will receive free admission to Sunday’s game with the purchase of one adult general admission (GA) ticket.
Sidewalk Chalk Sundays
Kids can have fun with sidewalk chalk on the concourse at each Sunday Aggie Softball game this season.
EVANS JOINS 1,000 WINS CLUB
Texas A&M Head Coach Jo Evans reached the 1,000th win of her career on March 1 when the Aggies beat Wisconsin, 6-2. The milestone makes Evans the only active Southeastern Conference coach with 1,000 Division I wins, and one of just eight DI coaches nationwide with 1,000 victories as a DI head coach. The Aggie skipper began her head coaching career at Colorado State, posting a 91-67 record from 1986-89. Taking a job at her alma mater next, Evans led Utah to the Women’s College World Series (WCWS) in 1991 and recording a 222-143 mark from 1990-96. The Utah native is in her 18th season with the Aggies, and has taken Texas A&M to 14 NCAA Tournaments, two WCWS appearances and three conference championships.
LAST TIME OUT
The No. 13 Aggies earned their 17th win of the season at Texas State on Wednesday, thanks in part to a pair of home runs by senior Amber Garza. Garza was 3-for-4 on the night with two home runs and a bunt single for four RBI. Senior Emily Albus reached base four times on the day, with a double, two base hits and a hit-by-pitch. The centerfielder also had an RBI and a run scored. Sophomore Katie Marks (8-0) earned the win in the circle for the Aggies, after throwing five complete innings. The Katy, Texas, native allowed two earned runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out one.
Missouri enters the weekend ranked 15th in the NFCA/USA Today poll with a record of 12-3. The Tigers’ best win of the season came in a 2-0 upset of 14th-ranked Arizona in Missouri’s first game of the Mary Nutter Classic. Mizzou’s three losses have all been one-run setbacks to top-15 teams, falling to Baylor twice (2-1, 4-3) and UCLA (4-3). The Tigers are hitting at an even .300 clip as a team, scoring 89 runs off of 122 hits with 17 doubles and 11 home runs. Four players on the squad are hitting above the .300 mark, headlined by sophomore Taylor Gadbois at .500 with 15 runs scored and two RBI. Sophomore Emily Crane is hitting an impressive .435 with three doubles, three home runs and a team-best 20 RBI. Senior Mackenzie Sykes has also blasted three long balls and driven in 16 runs. Mizzou has been aggressive on the base paths through the early portion of its schedule, swiping 34 bags in 39 attempts, led by Gadbois with 15 steals. In the circle, the Tigers’ pitching staff boasts a 1.88 ERA, allowing only six home runs over 96.2 innings. Casey Stangel (6-1, 1.42 ERA, 44.1 IP) and Tori Finucane (5-2, 1.66 ERA, 38.0 IP) have logged 13 of 15 starts for the Tigers.
VS. THE TIGERS
The Aggies also opened SEC play against Missouri in 2013, traveling to Columbia for the first-ever SEC series for both former Big 12 members. Missouri took a narrow, 2-0 win in game one, but Texas A&M retaliated in a big way with an 11-3 run-rule victory in game two with three home runs in the sixth inning, including then-junior Nicole Morgan’s third grand slam of the season. The third game of the conference series was cancelled due to snow in Columbia. The history between the teams dates back to 1981, with Texas A&M holding a 32-26 all-time advantage over Mizzou.
As a team, the Aggies lead the Southeastern conference in hits with 188 and runners picked off with seven, and rank second in total bases (306), total plate appearances (707) and at bats (565). Nicole Morgan is second in the Southeastern Conference with a .931 slugging percentage, a .588 on-base percentage, seven home runs and 54 total bases. The senior sits at third with 27 RBI and 20 walks, and ranks fourth overall among conference hitters with a .466 average. Morgan's accurate arm behind the plate makes her the No. 1 pickoff thrower in the SEC by a long shot, collecting each of the Aggies’ seven through 21 games - over three times more pickoffs than the No. 2 player on the list. Senior Emily Albus' 30 hits rank second among her peers.
THE 2014 AGGIES
In its second season in the Southeastern Conference, Texas A&M welcomes six newcomers to the 2014 squad with addition of sophomore transfer Katie Marks (Katy), and freshmen Abby Donnell (Wichita Falls), Reagan Boenker (Bryan), April Ryan (Keller), Suzanne White (Richmond) and Celena Massey (Bulverde). Returning to action are five sophomores, four juniors, including redshirt transfer Rachel Fox, and an invaluable eight-player senior class.
Lanphear – who led the Aggies’ home run game in 2013 – was named an NFCA All-American and Freshman All-SEC, and Morgan joined her on the NFCA All-South Region first team. Albus earned Hammer Strength All-American Athlete honors at the end of last season, and senior Allison Garrett represented the team on the SEC Softball Community Service Team.
Texas A&M could field nearly a full starting lineup from the senior class alone, as the Aggie Softball Class of 2014 has eight members that account for 23 years of combined experience in maroon and white.
TRANSFER OF POWER
The Aggies inherit two transfer student-athletes from major Division I programs for the 2014 season. Right-handed pitchers Rachel Fox and Katie Marks join the team from Texas and South Carolina, respectively. Fox (Sugar Land) entered the clubhouse before the 2013 season but was forced to sit out last year due to NCAA transfer rules. The former Longhorn standout collected 32 wins in two years at Texas. Marks spent her rookie season in the circle for the Gamecocks, making 28 appearances for an 8-8 record. She will see playing time in 2014 after receiving a hardship waiver from the Southeastern Conference.
RANKING THE AGGIES
Texas A&M started the 2014 season with a No. 11 preseason ranking in both national polls and are currently ranked No. 13 in the NFCA/USA Today Top 25 Poll and No. 16 the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Poll. The Aggies’ remaining 2014 opponents in the top 25 are No. 1/1 Florida, No. 3/2 Tennessee, No. 8/10 Kentucky, No. 15/18 Missouri and No. 18/19 Georgia. In addition, Auburn and Arkansas are receiving votes.
FOLLOW THE AGGIES
Get the latest news, updates and action from Aggie Softball by following the team’s official Twitter account @AggieSoftball. Fans on Facebook can also stay connected by liking the Aggie Softball page (facebook.com/TAMUSoftball).
Aggie Softball fans worldwide can listen to each game of the 2014 season live on AggieAthletics.com. All contests are provided by The Zone and can be heard on smartphones and HD radios via 95.1-3 The Zone HD on the Radio Aggieland app. Select games are also available in the Bryan-College Station area on Sports Radio 1150 AM. Every game will be live online at RadioAggieland.com and AggieAthletics.com.
MOBILE LIVE STATS
Fans who wish to follow the action of each game this season can also receive free, instantaneous live stats on any computer or smartphone by visiting TAMUstats.com. Users can access current live stats and stats from past games.
WATCH THE AGGIES ONLINE
For the 11th straight season, 12th Man TV will bring Aggies around the globe live video of Texas A&M softball. Fans will be able to watch all non-televised Aggie home games, along with select road games, through the all-new 12th Man TV. Subscription packages start at $11.95/month and include exclusive live and on-demand content not found anywhere else. For more information log on to AggieAthletics.com.
AGGIE SOFTBALL ON TV
The Aggies will play at least five games on national TV this season, beginning with a pair of SEC games vs. Kentucky on Saturday, April 5 at 5 p.m. CT and Sunday, April 6 game noon CT. Both A&M-UK matchups will be broadcast live on FSN South. Of the Aggies’ five televised contests, four will be played at the Aggie Softball Complex. The Aggies will host 2013 national runner-up and top-ranked Tennessee on ESPNU on Friday, April 11 at 7 p.m. CT and Sunday, April 13 at noon CT. A week later the Aggies and No. 3 Florida will face off on ESPNU – Friday, April 18 at 7 p.m. CT and Saturday, April 19 at 5 p.m. CT.
In addition to the five regular-season games, the entire SEC tournament, including both play-in games, will be broadcast on ESPN networks. The SEC Tournament is set for May 7-10 in Columbia, S.C.
All tickets may be purchased over the phone at 1-888-99-AGGIE OR 979-845-2311, online at tickets.12thManFoundation.com, or in person at The Zone at Kyle Field ticket office. Season tickets are currently available for just $125. Individual game tickets for softball will go on sale in January and are $10 for reserved (sections 4-8) and $8 for Adult General Admission (sections 1-3). Youth GA tickets are available for $5 each. Group rates are also available to groups of at least 20, and cost $8 for reserved seats and $3 for GA. Texas A&M students with no all-sports option may purchase a student walkup ticket for $5. Junior Aggie Club members are admitted free of charge to all Aggie softball games. Membership to the JAC is just $25, and information is available at www.JuniorAggieClub.com.
Each game at the Aggie Softball Complex features special promotions and incentives for fans in attendance. To check out updates to the team’s full 2014 promotional calendar, go to www.AggieAthletics.com/promotions.
Parking for all Aggie softball games is available in Lot 100 at both Reed Arena and Olsen Field. For games that do not conflict with baseball, the entry gate on the Reed Arena side of the stadium will not be opened; fans are encouraged to park at Olsen Field for those games to allow easy access to the stadium entrance. Visitors may park for free when there is not a conflict with an A&M men’s basketball or baseball game. This does not include 24-hour numbered, 12th Man or timed spaces. Visit transportation.tamu.edu for more information.
Texas A&M travels to the state of South Carolina next week, playing a single game at College of Charleston on Wednesday, March 12, before continuing SEC action with a three-game conference series at USC, March 14-16. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.