A&M softball ready for Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic

A&M softball ready for Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic
Posted at 5:13 PM, Feb 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-20 18:13:55-05

Texas A&M Softball hits the road for the first time this season as it competes in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at Big League Dreams beginning Thursday.
Action begins Thursday at 5 p.m. as the Aggies open against Nebraska before a 10 p.m. matchup against No. 2 UCLA. On Friday, the Aggies square off against Cal Poly at 5 p.m. and No. 13 Arizona State at 7:30 p.m. Texas A&M concludes the tournament Saturday at 11 a.m. against No. 17 Oregon.
All games at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic will be streamed online at []. Chelsea Reber and Tori Vidales bring the action to listeners on Willy 1550 on Thursday and Saturday 102.7 FM on Friday in the Bryan-College Station area and online at [].

The Aggies are coming off a 3-2 record at the Texas A&M Invitational, recording wins against Liberty, McNeese and Rutgers. Senior infielder Riley Sartain led the Aggies at the plate with five hits, including a double and a home run, her fourth of the season. Sartain reached base five times via the free pass as she drew four walks and was hit by a pitch. Payton McBride recorded two wins in the circle as the junior struck out five and allowed only four runs in 17.0 innings. Kayla Poynter allowed just one earned run in six innings while striking out five.

The Aggies are led offensively by Kelbi Fortenberry and Sartain, who top the team with .483 and .481 batting averages, respectively. The duo top the team with nine RBI as Sartain leads the Maroon & White with four home runs and doubles. As a team, Texas A&M enters the tournament ranked in the top 30 nationally in batting average (.344), on-base percentage (.429) and slugging percentage (.551).

In the circle, Payton McBride paces the pitching staff with five wins, while Kendall Potts has added two and Kayla Poynter has one.

A frequent visitor to Palm Springs, Texas A&M has excelled at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, compiling a 19-2 record at the tournament since 2015. In that same span, the Aggies have registered nine wins against teams ranked in the top 25 including victories over No. 1 Florida State (2017) and No. 5 Oregon (2018).

Thursday's opening matchup between Texas A&M and Nebraska will be the 65th meeting between the two teams with the Aggies holding a 38-26 advantage. The Huskers have won the last two meetings, both of which came at the Mary Nutter. Last season Nebraska doubled up the Aggies, 6-3.

Two of the winningest programs in NCAA history meet on the diamond Thursday night for just the 21st time in history. UCLA and Texas A&M began playing in 1981 as the Bruins hold a slight 11-9 advantage over the Aggies. The storied programs previously met at the 2017 Women's College World Series in which UCLA ousted the Aggies, 8-2.

Texas A&M and Cal Poly square off for the sixth time in history as the Aggies hold a 4-1 record against the Mustangs. The two teams last met at the Mary Nutter Classic in 2008 as Cal Poly topped the Aggies, 5-1.

Texas A&M and Arizona State have met 21 times in program history with the Sun Devils holding a 15-6 advantage over the Aggies. In their previous meeting, Texas A&M edged out the Sun Devils in nine innings, 2-1, at the 2017 Mary Nutter.

Saturday's finale marks the 11th time the Aggies and Ducks will have met with the series split evenly at 5-5. The two teams met in last year's edition of the Mary Nutter with the Aggies winning, 3-1.