No. 6 Texas A&M softball hits the road for the first time of the 2018 campaign and faces three teams ranked in the NFCA Coaches Poll at the annual Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, Calif., Thursday through Saturday.
The action begins Thursday at 5 p.m. CT against Notre Dame (6-3) and at 7:30 p.m. CT versus Nebraska (8-2), both of whom are receiving votes. On Friday, the Aggies square off with No. 5 Oregon (9-1) and 2:30 p.m. CT and No. 19 California (10-0) at 5 p.m. Texas A&M wraps up the tournament on against No. 1 Washington (12-0) at 12 p.m. CT Saturday.
Stephen Grove and Chelsea Reber bring the action to listeners on Willy 1550 AM in the Bryan-College Station area and online at www.12thMan.com/showcase. A live stream of every game at the tournament can be seen with a valid subscription on www.FloSoftball.com.
The Aggies, who are 9-0 for the second consecutive year and fifth time under head coach Jo Evans, are coming off a four-win weekend at the Texas A&M Invitational, defeating Tulsa twice, Butler and Iowa.
Tori Vidales, who was named the NFCA and SEC Player of the week, leads the team with a .517 average, five home runs, 21 RBI and a 1.069 slugging percentage. Additionally, Sarah Hudek is batting .455 with six RBI and dons a .536 on-base percentage.
In the circle, Trinity Harrington is 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA, while Maddie MacGrandle and Samantha Show are 2-0. Payton McBride and Lexi Smith have each added a victory to the pitching staff that is limiting opposing hitters to a .192 average.
Texas A&M holds a 5-1 series advantage over Notre Dame, including a 4-1 victory over the Fighting Irish in their last meeting in 2008.
Renewing an old Big 12 rivalry, Nebraska and the Aggies have met 63 times with Texas A&M leading 38-25. The two teams previously squared off on Feb. 21 2014, at the Mary Nutter in which the Cornhuskers prevailed, 3-2.
Oregon leads the all-time series against the Aggies, 5-4. After Texas A&M won the first four meetings of the series, Oregon has won the last five, most recently on Feb. 18, 2015 in College Station, 5-1.
In a series that dates back to 1981, Texas A&M leads California, 11-5. The Aggies won the last meeting, 10-6, on Feb. 21, 2014, at the Mary Nutter.
Washington holds a 6-4 advantage over the Aggies, but Texas A&M upset the Huskies in the last meeting which came at the 2016 edition of the Mary Nutter, 11-6.