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Aggies Host 4th-Ranked Lady Vols in Nationally-Televised SEC Series

April 10, 2014
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The 21st-ranked Texas A&M softball team (27-12, 8-7 SEC) is set to host No. 4 Tennessee (33-5, 9-3 SEC) in a three-game Southeastern Conference series this weekend at the Aggie Softball Complex. Friday’s series opener is slated for a 7 p.m. CT first pitch on ESPNU. Saturday’s game will not be televised, but will begin at 4 p.m. CT. ESPNU will return for the Sunday series finale at noon CT. Cheri Kempf and Cara Capuano will call the action all weekend for ESPNU.

Fans can listen to the live audio broadcast of all three games this weekend on AggieAthletics.com or RadioAggieland.com, and on mobile via the Radio Aggieland app through 95.1-3 The Zone HD.

WEEKEND PROMOTIONS
Maroon Fridays
Come to each Friday home game covered in maroon and you could win a prize as the Fan of the Game, who will also be entered into a grand prize drawing that will be announced at the end of the season.

Softball Bingo
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.

Saturday Koozie Giveaway
The first 250 fans through the gate on Saturday will receive a free Aggie Softball Koozie, perfect for tailgating all year long.

Junior Aggie Club Day
Members of the Junior Aggie Club will enjoy special activities on the concourse at Saturday’s game, with inflatables, a drawstring bag giveaway, face tattoos and poster making.

Steal Home Saturdays
Kids can stick around after Saturday’s game to run the bases at the Aggie Softball Complex.

White Out Game
White out the stands for the series finale against the Lady Vols on Sunday! The first 500 fans through the gate will receive a free 12th Man towel, and the First Lady of Aggieland – Reveille VIII – will be in attendance at the 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. Write a message to the team or play some hopscotch!

SCOUTING TENNESSEE
The Lady Volunteers enter the weekend with a 33-5 record, including a 9-3 mark in SEC play, but are looking to rebound after dropping two of three against LSU in Baton Rouge. Tennessee has lost only one game at home, a 3-2 contest to Western Kentucky on March 8. UT returns 11 letter-winners from last season’s 52-12 team that advanced to the Women’s College World Series final before falling to Oklahoma. Offensively, the Lady Vols boast eight players hitting above the .300 mark. Leading the effort is senior Madison Shipman and freshman Annie Aldrete. Shipman holds a .422 average to go along with 11 homers, 33 RBI, 10 doubles and 38 runs scored. Aldrete is hitting at a .413 clip with eight homers, 37 RBI, 10 doubles, two triples and 21 runs scored. The pair lead the team in almost every offensive category including average, runs, hits, triples, homers and RBI. In the circle, Ellen Renfroe leads the pitching staff with a 22-2 record and a 1.54 ERA and 20 complete games. The senior has struck out 166 while walking only 41. Erin Gabriel ranks second on the team with a 5-0 mark after 15 appearances and nine starts.

VS. THE LADY VOLS
Friday’s game marks the first time in history that Texas A&M and Tennessee will face off in College Station. The teams met in a three-game series in Knoxville last season, with UT sweeping the matchup in three close games (6-8, 6-8, 4-5). Prior to the 2013 season, the teams had only met twice – a 1997 game in Grand Prairie, Texas, and in the Aggies’ first game of the 2007 Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. Tennessee holds a 5-0 all-time advantage in the series.

TOP SKIPPERS IN SEC FACE OFF
The two winningest softball coaches in the SEC will go head-to-head this weekend in Texas A&M’s Jo Evans and Tennessee Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly. Evans reached the 1,000 career wins mark on March 1 when the Aggies defeated Wisconsin in College Station. The milestone made Evans the only active SEC skipper with 1,000 wins with Division I softball teams. She is now 1,012-544-2 all-time as a head coach, at the helm of Colorado State, Utah and Texas A&M. Weekly owned a 1,119-369-2 record entering the 2013 season, but 310 wins were with Pacific Lutheran, a Division III school. Auburn’s Clint Myers also has over 1,000 wins, but many of those were with Central Arizona’s baseball and softball teams at the NJCAA level.

EVANS ONE WIN AWAY FROM 700 A&M
In her 18th season with the Aggies, Head Coach Jo Evans is just one win away from her 700th win at Texas A&M heading into Friday night’s game against Tennessee. Also closing in on her 700th win at Texas A&M is Associate Head Coach Joy Jackson, who has been with Evans since day one with the Aggies. 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.

LAST TIME OUT
The Aggies won the first game of a three-game SEC series at No. 12 Kentucky, but dropped the final two games to the Wildcats on FSN South as UK took a 2-1 series win. Redshirt junior Rachel Fox hurled a career-best nine strikeouts in a complete-game victory in the circle during Friday night’s game.

MORGAN DRAFTED BY REBELLION
Senior Nicole Morgan was chosen as the No. 17 overall pick in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) Draft by the Pennsylvania Rebellion on March 31. Morgan was the first selection of the fifth round of the draft, and the fifth pick by the Rebellion. The Rebellion are in their first season in the NPF after coming together in November of 2013, inheriting the roster of the NY/NJ Comets. Based in Washington, Penn., the team will play at CONSOL Energy Park as they compete for the first time in 2014.

LEAGUE LEADERS
In the latest statistical updates, the Aggies continue to lead the league in runners picked off with eight and at bats with 1,069. Individually, senior Morgan’s seven pickoffs as the Aggies’ starting catcher are a Southeastern Conference best, and she ranks among the top ten in the SEC in slugging percentage (7th), on base percentage (8th), RBI (3rd), home runs (t-4th) and walks (2nd). Senior Emily Albus is first among league hitters with 63 hits, sits at third with a .450 batting average and ties for fifth with 15 stolen bases. Donnell has finished more games than any other hurler in the league (19), while tying for first among SEC pitchers with five saves.

VS. THE NATION
Texas A&M is No. 16 in the latest RPI rankings, and Tennessee sits at No. 12. In the latest updates, through last weekend’s games, the Aggies are 22nd in the nation in scoring and 21st in fielding percentage. Individually, Albus ranks 19th in batting average, and Morgan is listed at 5th in walks, 29th in on base percentage, and 24th in RBI, while tying with senior Cassie Tysarczyk in sacrifice flies (29th). Donnell’s five saves are a national best.

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. 21 in the NFCA/USA Today Top 25 Poll and No. 22 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Poll. The Aggies’ remaining 2014 opponents in the top 25 are No. 4/5 Tennessee, No. 6/8 Florida and No. 20/21 Auburn.

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).

LISTEN LIVE
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 two games vs. Kentucky that were aired on FSN South in early April. Of the Aggies’ five televised contests, four will be played at the Aggie Softball Complex. The Aggies will host 2013 national runner-up Tennessee on ESPNU Friday at 7 p.m. CT and Sunday, April 13 at noon CT. Next week 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.

TICKETS
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.

SEASON PROMOTIONS
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
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.

UP NEXT
Texas A&M will continue its nine-game home stand with a midweek game against Sam Houston State, Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT at the Aggie Softball Complex. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.

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