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No. 23 Aggies Finish SEC Action at No. 22 Auburn

April 24, 2014
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The 23rd-ranked Texas A&M softball team (31-17, 9-12 SEC) travels to No. 22 Auburn (34-14-1, 7-11 SEC) this weekend to finish regular-season Southeastern Conference action with a three-game series against the Tigers.

The teams will face off in the first game of the series at 6 p.m. CT Friday at Jane B. Moore Field. Game two is slated for a 1 p.m. CT first pitch on Saturday, and the series finale is set for a 1 p.m. CT start on Sunday.

Fans can listen to all three of this weekend’s games worldwide via Sports Radio 1150 AM The Zone online at AggieAthletics.com or RadioAggieland.com, or on mobile through the Radio Aggieland app. Live mobile stats are also available at tamustats.com.

LAST TIME OUT
The Aggies prepared for the top-25 series against the Tigers with a Tuesday doubleheader sweep of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Texas A&M plated 25 runs on 27 hits on the day, taking a 10-3 win in game one before run-ruling the Islanders, 15-0 in the second matchup. The game-one victory marked the Aggies’ 30th win of the season and makes 2014 the program’s 18th 30-win season with Head Coach Jo Evans at the helm. Senior Cassie Tysarczyk had a team-best seven RBI on the day with one home run and three runs scored. Emily Albus led the Aggies with a .667 average against the Islanders, going 6-for-9 at the plate over the course of two games, with three runs scored, a double and three RBI. The speedy senior had four straight infield hits to start off in game one. Freshman April Ryan and senior Amber Garza also batted in three runs each, and senior Nicole Morgan contributed four RBI with a double and a home run.

Sophomore Katie Marks (13-4) and freshman Abby Donnell (5-3) had wins in the circle for the Aggies. Marks tossed a complete seven innings in game one, allowing three earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out five. Donnell fanned one batter in two hitless innings of relief in game two.

SCOUTING AUBURN
The Tigers rank just below the Aggies in SEC standings, with a 7-11 record in conference action. Auburn’s 34-14-1 overall record is highlighted by series wins over Kentucky, LSU and Mississippi State, and a midweek victory over Alabama last week. The Tigers most recently defeated Alabama State, 5-3, on Wednesday night, thanks to a team effort both at the plate and in the circle. Branndi Melero and Kasey Cooper are each hitting above .400 to lead the team on the season. Melero owns an impressive .773 slugging percentage on a nine doubles and 12 home runs for 66 RBI. Cooper’s 13 home runs are a team best, as are her 55 hits and 57 runs scored. Morgan Estell has also scored 57 runs on an Auburn-high 16 doubles and five home runs. Lexi Davis (17-9) and Marcy Harper (15-3) have split time in the circle. Davis owns a 2.62 ERA with 124 strikeouts in 168.1 innings of work, while Harper’s 107 inning pitched are highlighted by 111 Ks.

VS. THE TIGERS
The Aggies and Tigers last met 13 years ago in a 2001 matchup in Santa Barbara, resulting in a 4-3 win for Texas A&M. The all-time series between the two teams is tied at 2-2 as they prepare to face off for the first time ever as conference opponents. While Auburn and Texas A&M have met twice in College Station, the foes have never met on Tiger soil.

SEC TOURNAMENT
Through games played on April 23, Texas A&M is ranked ninth in the conference and Auburn is listed 10th. This weekend’s series against the Tigers is crucial for the Aggies’ fate in the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Auburn and Mississippi State are each just a half game behind the Aggies, and Texas A&M and South Carolina are just a half game behind LSU – currently ranked 7th in the league. The Aggies and Gamecocks each have just one SEC series left – both vs. Auburn – while the other 11 teams in the league have two series yet to play.

LEAGUE LEADERS
Among conference opponents, the Aggies continue to lead the league with eight pickoffs. Senior Emily Albus' .436 batting average ranks fifth among SEC hitters and her 75 hits are a league best, while her 16 stolen bases are listed at fifth. Morgan ranks among the top 10 in the league with seven pickoffs (1st), a .730 slugging percentage (7th), a .503 on base percentage (8th), 50 RBI (5th), 12 home runs (T-4th) and 41 walks (4th). Donnell's 21 games finished and 25 games in relief are each league bests, and her five saves rank second among league pitchers.

VS. THE NATION
The Aggies are currently No. 18 in the latest RPI rankings and are among the nation's best in several statistical categories. As a team, Texas A&M ranks 22nd in fielding percentage (.973) and 30th in both home runs per game (1.04) and scoring (5.83). Seniors Nicole Morgan and Cassie Tysarczyk are tied for 13th in the nation in sacrifice flies with four each, and Morgan ranks ninth with 0.91 walks per game. Freshman Abby Donnell's five saves rank fifth.

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. 23 in both the NFCA/USA Today Top 25 Poll and the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Poll. No. 22/22 Auburn is the Aggies’ only remaining ranked opponent.

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 played six games on national TV during the regular season, beginning with two games vs. Kentucky that were aired on FSN South in early April. Of the Aggies’ six televised contests, four were played at the Aggie Softball Complex. The Aggies hosted 2013 national runner-up Tennessee on ESPNU in mid-April, and Texas A&M played another pair of games on ESPNU last when Florida came to College Station.

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 returns to College Station to host Lamar in a Wednesday doubleheader before playing a two-game series against former conference rival Oklahoma State next weekend. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.

@AggieSoftball: White Team wins final game 5-3, Takes Series 2-1
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