May 6, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - On a 20-game home winning streak, the 22nd-ranked Texas A&M softball team (37-13, 9-5 Big 12) will host No. 16 Oklahoma State (37-12, 8-5 Big 12) in a two-game conference series at the Aggie Softball Complex this weekend. First pitch Saturday will be thrown at 1 p.m. Sunday is Junior Aggie Club Day and will also begin at 1 p.m.
In 2010 the Aggies downed the Cowgirls with a doubleheader sweep in Stillwater, Okla. Then-junior Rhi Kliesing hit two home runs, plating each of A&M's five runs on the day. The sweep put the Aggies in position to be the No. 3 seed in the Big 12 Tournament. Before playing A&M, OSU had lost just one home game all season. Then-freshmen Meagan May and Mel Dumezich also had crucial roles in the victories. May hit .600 on the doubleheader, going 3-for-5 with a double, while Dumezich gave up just two runs on the day and picked up both victories from the circle.
JUNIOR AGGIE CLUB DAY
Sunday is Junior Aggie Club Day at the Aggie Softball Complex. JAC members will receive a free shirt and can enjoy festivities beginning at 1 p.m., including making a Mother's Day card, running the bases with Aggie players and joining the team in the players' lounge after the game for snacks, autographed posters and a softball raffle. Mothers of JAC members will receive $3 admission to the game with a voucher that can be obtained by emailing the JAC at email@example.com. Mothers will also be given a flower at the game as a token of appreciation and can be entered in a drawing to win a day spa gift card. Kids eighth grade and under who would like to become JAC members should sign up at www.JuniorAggieClub.com.
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 No. 22 Aggies upset 3rd-ranked Texas with a 5-1 victory over the Big 12 leaders on FSN, earning half of a point for A&M in the State Farm Lone Star Showdown. The win in front of a sold out crowd extended the Aggies' home winning streak to 20 games, just one behind the program record. Freshman Amber Garza had a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth and Dumezich earned her eighth conference win on the season.
Redshirt junior Natalie Villarreal leads the Aggie offense in 2011 with a .355 average. The second baseman has a team-leading 50 hits, 41 runs and 12 doubles. Kliesing is close behind with a .351 average on 46 hits, and leads the A&M bats with 15 home runs, 46 RBI, 99 total bases and 37 walks. Senior Kelsey Spittler has been consistently successful in conference play, batting .421 in Big 12 games with 16 hits, including two doubles and a home run. Dumezich (23-8) claims a 1.80 ERA in 35 appearances in the circle. The right-handed pitcher has throw 11 solo shutouts in 27 complete games while fanning 211 batters and allowing only 48 earned runs in 186.2 innings.
SCOUTING OKLAHOMA STATE
The Cowgirls are 37-12 overall this season, and 8-5 in Big 12 play. In 2010 OSU was 44-16, including a conference-fourth 12-6, and advanced to its 17th NCAA Regional. Last weekend the Cowgirls fell to No. 12 Missouri in 5-0 shutout at Cowgirl Stadium. Game two was rescheduled due to weather and will be played on Wednesday, May 11.
Leading the Oklahoma State offense in 2011 is senior Alysia Hamilton. The infielder has a .387 batting average and leads the team with 58 hits, 12 doubles and 150 at-bats. Senior Mariah Gearhart is hitting .385 on the season and leads the Cowgirls with 45 runs and 16 pitches to the body. From the circle, sophomore Kat Espinosa (20-6) records a 2.36 ERA in 33 appearances. She has combined for four shutouts in 160 innings of work, striking out 126 batters and giving up 54 earned runs. The Aggies lead the all-time series vs. OSU, 38-21.
SPITTLER PLAYER OF THE WEEK
After a stellar performance against KU last weekend, Spittler was named Big 12 Player of the Week for the first time in her career. The Caldwell, Texas, native was 6-for-7 last weekend with a home run, four RBI and three runs scored for an outstanding .857 average. The senior never struck out, and led the Aggies with nine total bases in two games. She leads the Aggies in conference-only games with a .429 average and a team-high 15 hits and 20 total bases. Spittler sits at second in the conference for Big 12-only games in individual batting and ranks fifth in conference-only stats in on-base percentage.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
The Aggies are on a 20-game home winning streak, starting April 25, 2010. This is the second-longest home winning streak A&M has had since the program's inception in 1981. The longest winning streak at home by Aggie softball was a 21-game ride from Feb. 19, 2005-May 22, 2005. The Aggies are one of six teams who remain undefeated at home this season, joining Alabama (20-0), Missouri (18-0), BYU (12-0), South Dakota (8-0) and Hofstra (15-0) in dominating the home diamond.
HOME RUNS GALORE
A&M has tallied 64 home runs this season, including six grand slams, in 50 games. The team sits at 16th in the nation in the most recent NCAA statistical rankings (as of May 1) in home runs per game with a 1.29 average. Kliesing is 22nd in the nation with 15 home runs and is 34th 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 35 times, including three times in the one-run victory over No. 15 Baylor and once against No. 12 Nebraska and No. 3 Texas. The team also had a solo bomb against top-ranked Arizona early in the season.
The Aggies are ranked in the top 25 in the most recent RPI standings in two categories (through games May 1) - home runs per game (16) and slugging percentage (25), and sat at 24th in RPI rankings as of April 27. Individually, Kliesing sits at 22nd in home runs. Dumezich ranks seventh in the nation in shutouts and 22nd in victories. May is 12th in sacrifice flies and 23rd in RBI per game.
The Aggies host Texas Tech (RV) in a two-game Big 12 series next weekend. Friday's game is slated for a 6 p.m. start, and Saturday's contest will start at noon. Read below for parking information during that weekend's graduation ceremonies.
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 that weekend. 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. 22 by both ESPN.com/USA Softball and USA Today/NFCA. A&M's remaining opponent appearing in the polls is No. 16/18 Oklahoma State. In addition, Texas Tech 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.