NORMAN, Okla. – For the fifth time in program history, the 16th-seeded Texas A&M softball team will vie for a spot in the Women’s College World Series at the NCAA Super Regional level when the Aggies face No. 1 seed Oklahoma this weekend on national television.
Former conference rivals A&M (42-16) and OU (50-4) will play the first game of the best-of-three series Thursday at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN. Game two is slated for a 3 p.m. CT start on ESPNU, followed by a third game, if necessary, at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN.
The Aggies battled through the third-straight College Station Regional, defeating another former conference foe, Baylor, in the championship series for the regional title. A&M entered the winner’s bracket after a 12-0 run-rule of Penn and advanced to the championship series after a come-from-behind victory over Baylor. The Lady Bears won the first game of the championship series, 9-5, to force a rematch in the double-elimination regional, and the Aggies dominated an 8-0, five-inning, walk-off performance to advance to the program’s fifth NCAA Super Regional.
A&M last advanced to the Super Regional level in 2011 when the then-No. 16 seed Aggies won the College Station Regional and moved on to face No. 1 Arizona State at the Tempe Super Regional. ASU won the first two games to move on the WCWS and eventually become the 2011 National Champions.
All of the action this weekend can be viewed nationwide on the ESPN Networks. Thursday’s match-up will be featured on ESPN, while the first game on Friday will be aired on ESPNU. The Friday rubber match, if necessary, will be broadcast on ESPN. Pam Ward and Michele Smith will be on site to analyze the action of each game this weekend. Ward will call the pitch-by-pitch with Smith providing color commentary. Shelley Smith will also be on site, reporting from the sidelines.
Oklahoma softball has teamed up with the United Way to help the victims of a devastating tornado in nearby Moore, Okla., on Monday. United Way will be set up at the field this weekend, accepting cash, checks and gift cards, 100 percent of which will directly aid those affected.
VS. THE SOONERS
The Aggies and Sooners have a long history, dating back to 1980 and expanding through a 17-year stint as Big 12 members that ended last season. OU holds a 23-39 all-time record against A&M. The teams met most recently last season in College Station when the Sooners took two games off of the Aggies before A&M pushed to a 4-0 victory in the conference series finale.
A&M IN THE POSTSEASON
The Aggies are making their 24th postseason showing in 2013, and have earned an NCAA Tournament berth for 12 consecutive years. A&M is 69-50 (.580) all-time in the postseason, winning three national championships (1982, 83, 87) and making 11 trips to the WCWS. The Aggies last traveled to Oklahoma City in 2008 when A&M was the national runner-up.
AGGIE RECORD CHASERS
The 2013 team either owns is chasing several all-time A&M softball records. Senior Meagan May broke the career RBI record (previously 183) in the College Station Regional and is just four walks away from the career record of 172. May already owns the school’s home run record for both career (68) and single-season (24, set in 2010). Senior Mel Dumezich is tied for first with 228 games played and ranks third all-time in career strikeouts thrown (928), innings pitched (897.2), wins (104), batting walks (104), and home runs (48), and ranks fourth in RBI (147). May sits at third in total bases with 420.
In single-season stats, May owns the records for RBI (62 in 2010), home runs (24 in 2010) and walks (56 in 2012). As a team, the Aggies got off to a program-best start with a 19-0 record at the beginning of the season. The Aggies also broke the single-season record for home runs with 101 so far this year, a national best in 2013. The previous record was 81, set in 2011.
Two Aggies earned All-SEC honors as utility players as Dumezich was named Second-Team All-SEC and freshman Cali Lanphear was selected to the SEC All-Freshman Team. The accolades make Dumezich and Lanphear the first A&M softball players to be named All-SEC after the Aggies joined the league in July of 2012.
MORGAN AT ASA/USA WNT TRYOUTS
Junior Nicole Morgan has been invited to the ASA/USA Softball Selection Camp, set for June 9-13. If chosen for the national squad, Morgan will travel to and play in several exhibition and international events this summer, culminating in the 2015 Pan Am Games and 2014 World Championship qualifiers August 5-18 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Dumezich threw three no-hitters over the span of 11 days for the Aggies, earning USA Softball National Player of the Week and SEC player of the Week honors on Feb. 26. The senior threw her career-first no-hitter against Stephen F. Austin (Feb. 20) and added a second vs. Southeastern Louisiana (Feb. 24) the same week. Dumezich’s third no-hitter in less than two weeks came against Illinois State and was her first seven-inning effort as the Aggies run-ruled SFA and SELU. Marking another milestone, Dumezich tossed her 100th career victory, against LSU, on April 12.
The Aggie defense has turned 18 double plays this season, including three at the NCAA Regional level. Of the 18 two-out plays this season, 11 have been vs. SEC opponents, and all but two were against ranked teams.
GRAND SLAMS GALORE
The Aggies have proven to be a threat at the plate with bases loaded, pounding seven grand slams this season. Morgan and junior Amber Garza lead the way with three each. Morgan’s first four-RBI homer came early in the season as she topped the fence with three on base against Cal State Bakersfield on Feb. 9 for her second long ball of the game. On Feb. 17, Morgan plated four against Stephen F. Austin before clearing the bags at Missouri on March 9. Junior Amber Garza joined Morgan in the grand slam club with a four-RBI homer against Texas State on March 26 before adding her second and the team’s sixth against LSU on April 12. “Grand Slamber Garza” slugged a third shot against Alabama at the SEC Tournament on May 8 to tally three on the season and six on her career. Junior Cassie Tysarczyk created the fifth grand slam for the team when she went yard with bases loaded vs. Colorado State on April 5.
HOME RUN HITTERS
A&M has hit a program-best 101 home runs to lead the nation this season after freshman Cali Lanphear’s first-inning long ball against Ole Miss on April 27 broke the previous single-season record of 81, set in 2011. The Aggies hit 35 homers in SEC play, two during their conference tournament debut, and 11 during NCAA Region. Lanphear leads the team and the SEC with 20 long balls, followed by Morgan and May with 16 each. May broke the program’s career home run record with 57 and reached the 60-bomb mark at Tennessee. Ten different Aggie hitters have gone yard this season, seven of them hitting in the double digits.
Tickets for the Norman Super Regional go on sale Monday at 8 a.m., online at SoonerSports.com and over the phone at 405-325-2424 or 800-456-GoOU.
The winner of the Norman Super Regional will advance to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, May 28-June 5. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.