COLLEGE STATION, Texas – After postponing its Wednesday game with Houston, the No. 13 Texas A&M softball team is ready to host the Texas A&M Invitational, this weekend at the Aggie Softball Complex.
The Aggies (12-4) welcome the University of Connecticut (0-5), Wisconsin (4-5) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (3-11) for the ten-game round-robin tournament. Texas A&M starts tournament play at 3 p.m. Friday with a game against UConn, followed by a 5:15 p.m. game vs. Wisconsin. The Aggies and Badgers rematch at 3 p.m. Saturday, and Texas A&M plays the Huskies a second time at 5:15 p.m. Saturday. Texas A&M closes out the weekend with a game against in-state opponent Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 12:15 p.m. on Texas Independence Day – Sunday, March 2. All times are Central.
Fans can follow the weekend’s action by listening to the live audio broadcast of each game on AggieAthletics.com or RadioAggieland.com. Saturday’s games can also be heard in the Bryan-College Station area 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 RadioAggieland 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.
Aggie Head Coach Jo Evans is just three wins away from 1,000 career victories heading into this weekend’s games. The Texas A&M skipper entered the season with a 985-532-2 career record and is now 997-536-2 all-time. Evans started her career at Colorado State, where she was 91-67 through four seasons. At Utah from 1990-1996, Evans posted a 222-143 mark. Currently in her 18th season with the Aggies, Evans is 684-326-2 all-time in maroon and white.
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.
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.
Mardi Gras at the Aggie Softball Complex
Laissez les bon temps rouler on Sunday as the first 500 fans through the gates will receive Mardi Gras beads. Fans can also enter to win a king cake.
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.
LAST TIME OUT
Texas A&M went 3-2 at the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, Calif., last weekend. The team’s only losses were to top-15 opponents Arizona and Nebraska, and the Aggies outscored weekend opponents, 28-14. Senior Nicole Morgan led the team’s offensive effort, hitting .538 through five games with seven hits – including two doubles, a triple and a home run – for four RBI. Morgan also drew five walks and had two pickoffs and a double play, defensively from behind the plate. Senior Emily Albus led the team with eight hits and swiped two bags in as many attempts. Sophomore transfer Katie Marks led the team from the circle with a 0.51 ERA and a pair of wins. Marks threw 13.2 innings, allowing just one earned run and striking out 13 batters. Opponents hit just .119 on the weekend against the right-handed pitcher, who also collected her first career save.
The Huskies have struggled for the early portion of the season, starting 0-5 despite dropping one-run decisions to Massachusetts (8-7) and Illinois State (3-2, 8 innings). Sophomore Valerie Sadowl and junior Emily O’Donnell have been on a tear through the early portion of the year at the plate. Sadowl is hitting .615 with four doubles, one home run and four RBI while O’Donnell hits at a .353 mark. Junior Lauren Duggan has pitched the majority of the innings for the Huskies, going 0-4 with an ERA of 5.40 over 18.1 innings.
Wisconsin enters the tournament this weekend with a 4-5 record, posting wins against Bethune Cookman and Illinois State at the USF-Wilson De Marini Tournament and splitting contests with Florida International and Florida Gulf Coast at the FIU Tournament. The Badgers return eight starters from last year’s 44-13 squad that advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in school history. Seniors Mary Massei and Cassandra Darrah return after receiving first-team all-conference honors last season. Sophomore Maria van Abel leads the team offensively with a .464 average and six stolen bases. Senior Stephanie Peace (3 HR, 6 RBI) and freshman Chloe Miller (2 HR, 5 RBI) lead the team in power numbers. Wisconsin has been aggressive on the bases this season, swiping 20 bags in 22 attempts. In the circle, Darrah (3-3, 2.12 ERA) and Taylor-Paige Stewart (1-2, 4.00 ERA) have logged all but one inning for the Badgers.
SCOUTING TEXAS A&M-CORPUS CHRISTI
The Islanders enter this weekend’s tournament with a 3-11 record. Despite the team’s record thus far, A&M Corpus-Christi boasts six batters hitting above .300. Valerie Perez (.435, 2 HR, 12 RBI) leads the team in batting average. Jamise Jackson (.372, 2 HR, 12 RBI) is tied with Perez for the team lead in RBI. Brittney Morse and Mickayla Cochran have each slugged four homers as well. On the mound, Liz Carter has thrown four complete games on her way to a 3-4 mark with a team-best 6.10 ERA over 49.1 innings.
VS. THE FIELD
The Aggies and Huskies have met just two times in history – in Georgia in 1996 and in Hawai’I in 1999. Texas A&M won both games and boasts a 2-0 all-time advantage over UConn, which will make its first trip to College Station this weekend. The Aggies and Badgers last played in 2010 at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Arizona. Texas A&M run-ruled Wisconsin to stretch its record against the Badgers to 3-0 overall. The Aggies and Islanders are the most familiar foes of the group this weekend, having met eight times in history. Texas A&M holds a 7-1 all-time advantage after most-recently splitting games with A&M-Corpus Christi in College Station in 2010.
DON’T MESS WITH MORGAN
Texas A&M catcher Nicole Morgan is a threat both at and behind the plate this season. The senior has used her accurate arm to pick four runners off at second base, and to catch runners stealing three times through just 16 games. Morgan’s aim has caused the Aggies to lead the Southeastern Conference in runners picked off this year all of which can be credited to the senior. Also good with a bat, Morgan ranks fourth among SEC hitters with a .479 average while ranking second in slugging percentage (.917) and RBI (22). Her 10 RBI, three home runs – including two grand slams – and 12 total bases vs. Bakersfield on Feb. 8 are SEC individual games highs for 2014.
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.
Sophomore Cali Lanphear – who led the Aggies’ home run game in 2013 – was named an NFCA All-American and Freshman All-SEC, and senior Nicole Morgan joined her on the NFCA All-South Region first team. Senior Emily 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. 18 the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Poll. The Aggies’ remaining 2014 opponents in the top 25 are No. 1/1 Florida, No. 2/2 Tennessee, No. 8/8 Kentucky, No. 17/19 Missouri, No. 18/17 Georgia, No. 24 Arkansas and No. 25 Auburn.
With four tournaments and two nonconference midweek games at the beginning of the season, the Aggies will play over one third of their regular-season schedule in the month of February. Of the 55 scheduled games in 2014, 19 of them will take place during the first three weeks of the season.
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.
The Aggies travel to Texas State for a single game Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT, before the team jumps into SEC action with a three-game home series vs. Missouri, March 7-9. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.