Softball Continues Spring Break in Texas



March 28, 2013

Games 35-37 | #4 Alabama (30-4, 6-3 SEC) at #9 Texas A&M (27-5, 4-4 SEC)

Friday, March 29, 7 p.m. CT
Saturday, March 30, 4 p.m. CT
Sunday, March 31, Noon CT

Location College Station, Texas | Aggie Softball Complex (1,750)
Tickets Buy Here | Saturday SOLD OUT
Television None
Radio Listen | WDGM 99.1 FM | Chad Haynie
Live Stats GameTracker (Gm 1) | GameTracker (Gm 2) | GameTracker (Gm 3)
Game Notes Alabama Notes Get Acrobat ReaderTexas A&M Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Video Stream A&M All-Access
Promotions Kayla Braud Day | Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Game

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama softball team (30-4, 6-3 SEC) will continue its spring break road trip with a three game series against Southeastern Conference newcomer Texas A&M (27-5, 4-4 SEC). The two teams will open the series on Friday, March 29, with first pitch slated for 7 p.m., at the Aggie Softball Complex.

Alabama opened its spring break with a 6-3 victory over Houston on Wednesday night. Junior All-American Jackie Traina powered the Crimson Tide to the victory with a pair of two-run home runs, while freshman Haylie McCleney batted 3-for-4. Sophomore Leslie Jury (10-2) earned the win in relief, allowing just two hits in 5 2/3 innings while striking out three. The Tide is coming off a series victory over rival Auburn this past weekend, outscoring the Tigers, 26-8.

Over the last five games Alabama has had a few standouts. Freshman Haylie McCleney and sophomore Jadyn Spencer pace the Tide with identical .500 averages. McCleney has scored six runs while Spencer has hit a home run and driven in six. Junior Jackie Traina has been on a power surge as of late, smashing four home runs while adding seven RBI and also adding a .500 average over the last five games. Traina has already eclipsed her home run output from last season as the calendar has not even hit April. She enters the weekend with 11 home runs, hitting 10 in 2012 and is rapidly approaching her career best of 13 from her freshman season in 2011.  

The Aggies enter the weekend with a 27-5 overall record and a 4-4 SEC mark. A&M are coming off a 9-1, midweek victory over Texas State. Last weekend, the Aggies were swept in Knoxville by Tennessee. As a team the Aggies hit .320 with 55 home runs and have outscored their opponents, 207-76. In the circle, Texas A&M has a 1.97 ERA, striking out 209 in 202 2/3 innings while holding opposing batters to a .209 average. Individually, Nicole Morgan leads the team in nearly every major offensive category, batting .415 with 13 home runs and 41 RBI. Emily Albus bats .357 with a team-high 27 runs and 11 stolen bases. In the circle, Mel Dumezich has pitched most of the innings, sporting an 18-3 record with a 1.77 ERA. She has struck out 153 in 134 2/3 innings and held opposing batters to a .190 average. Jo Evans is in her 17th season at A&M and has posted a 631-304-2 record in College Station in 17 seasons. She is 944-514-2 in 28 seasons overall.  

The two teams have met three times but never as conference opponents. Alabama has won all three games with all three being played in College Station. The last time the two perennial powers met was in a NCAA Super Regional in 2005. Current Alabama pitching coach Stephanie VanBrakle earned the win in both games to send the Tide to the Women’s College World Series. Alabama won both the games by the score of 4-1 and 6-5, respectively.

The Crimson Tide has become the marquee program in collegiate softball and coming off its 2012 national championship, Alabama has drawn record crowds not only at the friendly confines of Rhoads Stadium, but on the road as well. In the first two months of the season record crowds have flocked to watch Alabama at every turn, including the largest crowd to watch a single regular season game on the first day of the season when the Tide took on Northern Iowa at the UNI Dome. Entering the weekend over 65,000 fans have already attended Alabama softball games, nearly 20,000 of which have been on the road. Alabama has set stadium records at Florida Gulf Coast, South Carolina and at Houston while also having a sellout at Tennessee and UAB.

With the victory against Auburn on March 22, Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy won his 800th career game. The milestone came in an 8-0, run-rule victory against the rival Tigers. These milestone wins have been coming at an alarming rate as Murphy has led the Crimson Tide to 50 or more wins in each of the last eight seasons.

In the first installment of the RPI, the Alabama softball team checks in at No. 6 overall. Eight Tide opponents reside in the top 25, while five check in at the top 10.

After a 3-1 week the Alabama softball team remained No. 4 in the NFCA/USA Today Poll and moved back a spot in the USA Softball/ rankings to No. 7 overall. Seven opponents on the 2013 schedule are currently ranked in the top 25.

Freshman Haylie McCleney currently ranks fifth in the NCAA with a .484 average. McCleney is also 10th in runs per game (1.18). She is still one of the toughest to strikeout, ranking second in the country with one strikeout in 104 at bats. Senior Kayla Braud ranks fifth in stolen bases per game at 0.85. (as of March 26)

As a team the Crimson Tide checks in the top five in 11 major offensive categories and seven times in the pitching statistics. UA ranks second in batting average (.333), fifth in slugging percentage (.523), second in on base percentage (.431), third in runs (240), second in hits (294), third in RBI (208), fourth in triples (8), home runs (37) and total bases (461), third in walks (137) and first in stolen bases (87). In the circle the Tide ranks fourth in ERA (1.73), fifth in opposing batting average (.194), second in wins (29), fourth in hits allowed (150) and runs allowed (70), third in earned runs allowed (53) and fourth in home runs allowed (12). (as of March 26)

Freshman Haylie McCleney continues to pace the league or rank among the best in the conference in several offensive categories. The rookie leads the circuit in hitting (.481), runs (39) and hits (50) and ranks third in triples (4). Senior Kayla Braud leads the league in stolen bases (29) while junior Jackie Traina ranks fourth in strikeouts with 130. (as of March 26)

Alabama will return home for nearly the whole month of April as the Tide will host four games next week. UA will open the week against instate foe Jacksonville State on April 2, before hosting SEC newcomer Missouri for a three-game set, starting on Friday, April 5.