May 12, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -
Ranked a season-high 18th in the nation, the Texas A&M softball team (39-13, 11-5 Big 12) hosts Texas Tech (40-12, 5-11 Big 12) in the Aggies' final two games of the regular season this weekend at the Aggie Softball Complex. First pitch Friday will be thrown at 6 p.m. and the Senior Day game on Saturday is slated for a noon start.
In 2010 the Aggies swept the Red Raiders in Lubbock, putting 13 hits on the board for a 10-6 victory in game one before finishing the job with and 8-4 win in the series finale. Then-sophomore Kelsea Orsak earned a career-high five RBI in game two to help 20th-ranked A&M to a powerful weekend. The Aggies lead the all-time series with Texas Tech, 22-12, and has won the past six meetings.
HONOR ROLL DAY
Elementary school students, grades 1-5, in the Bryan-College Station area who made the A or B honor roll will receive a complimentary ticket to the game on Saturday. Family members of the honor roll students can also receive discounted tickets for $3 each.
Saturday is also Senior Day at the Aggie Softball Complex. Fans are encouraged to stay after the game to honor the five softball seniors. Immediately after the last out, join head coach Rhi Kliesing, Kara Rau, Missy Siegel, Kelsey Spittler and Andrea Tovar.
FOLLOW THE ACTION
Live stats and live audio will be provided for every game this season on AggieAthletics.com. Fans can listen to this weekend's games live on Sports Radio 1150 AM. Log on to RadioAggieland.com for more information.
LAST TIME OUT
The Aggies broke the program's record for home winning streaks at 22 games with the defeat of two ranked Big 12 opponents. After upsetting No. 3 Texas on Wednesday, A&M swept No 16 Oklahoma State in a pair of games last weekend. A walk-off bomb by freshman Amber Garza gave the Aggies a 4-2 victory on Saturday before a three-run homer by Kliesing for the come-from-behind win on Sunday secured the new home streak record.
Spittler leads the Aggie offense in Big 12 play with a .395 average. The senior has 17 hits, including two doubles and two home runs, picking up 10 RBI and 25 total bases against conference opponents. Redshirt junior Natalie Villarreal leads the team in Big 12 stats with 11 runs, five doubles, 12 walks and three stolen bases. The second baseman also tops A&M's offense in overall games with a .356 average, scoring a team-high 43 runs and slugging 12 doubles. Sophomore Mel Dumezich (25-8) has a 1.81 overall ERA and holds 11 solo shutouts in 29 complete games, fanning 222 batters in 200 2/3 innings. She has knocked off 10 conference opponents, throwing four Big 12 shutouts for a 1.66 ERA in league play.
SCOUTING TEXAS TECH
The Red Raiders are 40-12 overall in 2011, and 5-11 in conference, leading the nation with a .355 batting average. The team was 38-18 in 2010, finishing 17th in the nation at the NCAA Regional. Last weekend Texas Tech split a pair of shutouts with No. 14 Nebraska in Lincoln. Three home runs by the Huskers dropped the Red Raiders, 7-0 on Saturday before a five-run seventh inning by Tech propelled them to a 5-0 shutout victory on Sunday.
Leading the Red Raiders overall this season is Emily Bledsoe. The junior is hitting .392 on the season with 58 hits, including 14 doubles, two triples and three home runs for 33 RBI. Junior Logan Hall is right on her heels with a .391 average. Hall owns 61 hits in 2011, pounding 10 doubles, two triples and six bombs. Together the pair has stolen 21 bases. Pitching duo Brittany Talley (14-5) and Kelsey Dennis (12-4) combine for a 2.73 ERA overall, but are struggling against Big 12 hitters. Both have four conference losses. Dennis holds a 4.05 ERA in league play, while Talley is throwing 4.56.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
The Aggies are on a program-best 22-game home winning streak, starting April 25, 2010. This is the longest home winning streak A&M has had since the program's inception in 1981 and is the second-longest current streak in the nation, behind Hofstra (28). The previous record holder by Aggie softball was a 21-game ride from Feb. 19, 2005-May 22, 2005.
HOME RUNS GALORE
A&M has tallied 69 home runs this season, including six grand slams, in 50 games. The team sits at eighth in the nation in the most recent NCAA statistical rankings (as of May 8) in home runs per game with a 1.33 average. Kliesing is 17th in the nation with 16 home runs and is 27th in home runs per game, individually. Of A&M's 19 players, 12 have gone yard in 2011. Undefeated at home, the Aggies have cleared their own fence 40 times, including three times in the one-run victory over No. 15 Baylor, once against No. 12 Nebraska and No. 3 Texas and five times in the sweep of No. 16 OSU. The team also had a solo bomb against top-ranked Arizona early in the season.
The Aggies are ranked No. 16 overall in the most recent RPI standings and sit in the top 25 in three categories (through games May 8) - home runs per game (8), win-loss percentage (23) and slugging percentage (22). Individually, Kliesing sits at 17th in home runs and 27th in home runs per game. Dumezich ranks ninth in the nation in shutouts and 15th in victories. May is 14th in sacrifice flies, 27th in walks and 26th in RBI per game.
Closing out the regular season this weekend, the Aggies will learn their postseason fate Sunday night. The NCAA softball selection show airs on ESPNU at 9 p.m. CST. Regional tournaments at campus sites around the country are scheduled for May 19-22.
Due to graduation ceremonies at Reed Arena on Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14, softball attendees are asked to use parking spaces in West Campus Garage and Lot 61 for the Texas Tech series. Parking maps are available at transport.tamu.edu.
AGGIES IN THE POLLS
Texas A&M started the season ranked in the top 25 in both preseason national polls, and is currently ranked No. 19 by ESPN.com/USA Softball and a season-best 18th by USA Today/NFCA. The Aggies have played 10 ranked opponents in 2011, including two top-ranked teams, and will close out regular season play against Texas Tech, who is receiving votes.
BIG 12 PRESEASON POLL
A&M was picked to finish fourth in the Big 12 Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Aggies received 54 points and finished behind preseason favorite Oklahoma (79), Missouri (71) and Texas (69). A&M was selected as the frontrunner for three consecutive years, from 2006-08, and was picked sixth last season. Oklahoma State placed fifth with 50 points, followed by Baylor (40), Texas Tech (33), Nebraska (26), Iowa State (15) and Kansas (13).
GET IT LIVE
Live audio and live stats are featured in every A&M game in 2011. 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.