COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The 12th-ranked Texas A&M softball team will play five games this weekend, beginning Thursday, as a part of the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, Calif. The Aggies’ weekend opponents are No. 14 Arizona, San Diego State, California, No. 11 Nebraska and Cal State Northridge.
The Aggies start the weekend action with a 5:30 p.m. CT/3:30 p.m. PT game Thursday against the Wildcats, followed by a 10 p.m. CT/8 p.m. PT game against the Aztecs. On Friday, Texas A&M plays Cal at 2:30 p.m. CT/12:30 p.m. PT and the Cornhuskers at 5 p.m. CT/3 p.m. PT. The Aggies end the tournament with a 12 p.m. CT/10 a.m. PT matchup against Northridge.
Fans can follow this weekend’s action by listening to the live audio broadcast of each game on AggieAthletics.com RadioAggieland.com. 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 – including games this weekend vs. San Diego State and Cal State Northridge – can also be heard in the Bryan-College Station 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.
MARY NUTTER CLASSIC
The Aggies last played at the Mary Nutter Classic – then the Cathedral City Classic – in 2012, going 1-4 on the weekend with losses to then-No. 1 Florida, New Mexico, then-No. 5 Washington and Pacific. The team’s lone win of the weekend was a 14-8, 8-inning victory over BYU, thanks to a pair of grand slams from then-junior pitcher Mel Dumezich.
In addition to the Aggies and their 2014 Mary Nutter Classic opponents, the tournament’s 35-team field includes Baylor, Boise State, BYU, Cal Poly SLO, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Long Beach, Fordham, Fresno State, LIU Brooklyn, LSU, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Oregon State, Pacific, Stanford, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas, UC Davis, UCLA, UNLV, Virginia and Washington.
LAST TIME OUT
Texas A&M was handed its first two losses of the season last weekend while hosting the Aggie Classic. The Aggies won a pair of run-rules, vs. Oregon State (Feb. 14) and McNeese State (Feb. 15), while winning a one-run walk-off against the Beavers (Feb. 15) and dropping games to McNeese State (Feb. 14) and Tulsa (Feb. 16). Sophomore Cali Lanphear led the team at the plate on the weekend, hitting four doubles, a triple and a home run to collect seven RBI and 15 total bases.
The Wildcats enter the weekend with a perfect 9-0 record after knocking off Alabama twice last weekend to jump 10 spots in the polls to No. 14. Arizona boasts a potent offensive lineup with four players hitting over .500 and six players hitting above .400. Offensively, sophomore Courtney Rodriguez leads the team with a .571 (12-of-21) average, including three doubles and three RBI. Junior Kellie Fox has already slugged five home runs and 18 RBI through the first two weeks of the season. Chelsea Goodacre has also put up impressive slugging numbers early with four home runs on six hits with 14 RBI. In the circle, the Wildcats have been equally impressive, yielding a total of three runs on 26 hits and 18 walks. Nancy Bowling leads the team in wins with a 3-0 record and a 0.93 ERA. In addition to Bowling, four other Wildcat pitchers have logged wins and starts. The Aggies are 11-24 all-time vs. Arizona. The teams last met at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz., in 2012 when the Aggies upset the then-No. 8 Wildcats, 5-4.
SCOUTING SAN DIEGO STATE
The Aztecs come into the tournament with an 8-2 record, boasting an impressive 7-3 victory over Cal in the Campbell/Carter Classic. SDSU hits .311 as a team, paced by Patrice Jackson with a .500 average, including four long balls and 10 RBI. Sydnee Cable also hits above .400 (.407) with two doubles, a triple and nine RBI. Danielle O’Toole will likely be in the circle for the Aztecs. The hurler has a 7-0 record through eight starts, with a 1.43 ERA and five complete games. Texas A&M is 6-2 all-time against SDSU. The programs last met in a pair of Aggie wins in College Station in 2011.
The Golden Bears hold a 5-4 record on the season, despite four players hitting above the .400 mark. Danielle Henderson (.448, 4 HR, 9 RBI), Victoria Jones (.423, 2 HR, 11 RBI) and Kylie Reed (.405, 1 RBI) all have stellar averages after starting all nine games for Cal. In the circle, Katie Finch holds a 2-0 record with a 2.66 ERA after 23.2 innings and four starts while Nisa Ontiveros leads the team in wins (3-1) and earned run average (2.30) after logging three starts. Texas A&M holds a 10-5 all-time advantage over the Golden Bears. The teams last met in Hawai’I in 2012, when then-No. 1 Cal defeated the Aggies, 3-0.
Nebraska enters the tournament with a 7-2 mark on the spring and ranked in both major polls (No. 11 NFCA/USA Today, No. 12 ESPN.com/USA Today). The Cornhuskers split games with 12th-ranked Florida State at the Hotel Encanto Invitational in Las Cruces, N.M. Offensively, NU hits .308 as a team with seven homers and 43 runs scored. Taylor Edwards leads the way with a .500 average including two doubles, three homers and eight RBI. On the mound, Emily Lockman (4-1, 1.14, 4 complete games) and Tatum Edwards (3-1, 1.27, 3 complete games) have pitched all but one inning for the Huskers this season. Texas A&M and Nebraska – long time Big 12 opponents – have met 62 times in history, with the Aggies holding a 38-24 all-time advantage. The teams last met as conference foes in a 2011, and the last meeting between the Aggies and Huskers was a pair of 2012 Texas A&M wins in College Station.
SCOUTING CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
The Matadors hold a 5-5 record on the season with wins against Oregon State, Seattle, Colorado St., Boise State and Toledo. CSUN hits .305 as a team and scores a run for every two hits. Freshman Taylor Glover paces the offense with a .412 average, including one homer and nine RBI. Sophomore Maylynn Mitchell leads the team in home runs, dropping three solo shots on only eight hits. Brianna Elder has been the workhorse for the Matadors, throwing 32.0 innings on her way to a 4-2 record and a 3.28 ERA. The Aggies have a 5-2 all-time advantage over CSUN. The teams last met in Tempe, Ariz., at the Kajikawa Classic in 2010 when Texas A&M earned an 8-2 victory over the Matadors.
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. 12 in the NFCA/USA Today Top 25 Poll and No. 16 the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Poll. The Aggies’ remaining 2014 opponents in the top 25 are No. 1/1 Florida, No. 2/3 Tennessee, No. 5/6 Kentucky, No. 11/12 Nebraska, No. 14/14 Arizona, No. 16/18 Missouri and No. 17/17 Georgia. In addition, Auburn, California, San Diego State, Wisconsin, Arkansas and Houston are receiving votes.
BLAST FROM THE PAST
Including Lanphear’s 21 long balls, the Aggies led the nation with 103 home runs in 2013, besting the program’s original record of 81 set in 2011. Texas A&M was the only team to break 100 in 2013, and the Aggies also led the nation in home runs per game with a 1.72 average. As a special treat, the 100th bomb was hit by then-junior Amber Garza during the College Station Regional final against Baylor. The Aggies’ 101st homer of the season, by Lanphear, sealed the run-rule of the Bears to send Texas A&M to the NCAA Super Regional. Lanphear led a group of seven Aggies who hit double-digit home runs in 2013. Texas A&M returns players responsible for 72 percent of the team’s home runs in 2013.
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 the Sunday, April 6 game at Kentucky on a Fox Sports Net station at noon CT. 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 return to Texas for a single game at Houston on Wednesday, Feb. 26, before hosting Wisconsin, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Uconn in the Texas A&M Invitational. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.