Previewing The Lafayette, La. Regional: Texas A&M
The Lafayette, La. softball regional gets underway on Friday at Lamson Park, with four teams vying for a trip to the NCAA Super Regionals.
Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns, the top-seed in the regional, and the #14-overall seed, will be playing host to the Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, and Boston Terriers in the double-elimination event.
Texas A&M will take on Texas in the first game of the regional, on Friday at 3:30 pm, followed by a match-up pitting Louisiana and Boston U at 6 o'clock.
Today, we preview the Texas A&M Aggies:
Making their 27th NCAA tournament appearance, Texas A&M, members of the SEC, will also be making their 15th-consecutive regional appearance.
The Aggies, who enter the regional with an overall record of 37-18, went 9-15 in SEC play in 2016.
Texas A&M host lost their last two games, falling to Auburn (5-4), as well as LSU (5-4) in the SEC Tournament, but prior to those setbacks had won three-consecutive games, including two over Auburn, who is the #4-National Seed, and one over Fllorida, who has been ranked number one in the country for most of the year.
Texas is a team that relies on their hitting to win games.
Offensively, the Aggies have a lot of power, clubbing 84 home runs as a team.
By contrast, Louisiana will enter this weekend with 98 homers. So, if those two teams meet, it may very well be a power display.
Texas A&M has five players who have hit 10 or more homers this season.
Leading the way is sophomore outfielder Tori Vidales, who is hitting a .397 with 14 homers, 50 RBI's, sophomore shortstop Kristen Cuyos is hitting a .320, and leads the team in both homers and RBI's, with 16 and 59, respectively.
They have speed too, with freshman Keeli Milligan leading the way, with an impressive 52 steals in 57 attempts.
Offensively, this is just a good looking bunch. They can hit for power, they can hit for average, and they can beat you with speed.
Texas A&M has struggled in the circle, especially against good teams, however.
They will bring in an overall, combined, team ERA. of 3.87 in the regional.
By contrast, Louisiana has a 1.75 ERA., while Texas is at a 2.28, and Boston U. is at a 2.67.
Freshman right-hander Samantha Show is the ace of the Aggies' staff, and will enter the regional at 23-9 with a 3.68 ERA., while sophomore right-hander Trinity Harrington is 7-8 with a 3.79 ERA..
The thing about this pitching staff, is that while inconsistent, they have also been very good at times, as evidence by their wins over Florida and Auburn.
If Texas A&M gets solid pitching this weekend, they're more than capable of winning the regional. If they don't, they may not make it to Championship Sunday.
That's a big "if" however. It's a young staff, going up against an experienced Texas line-up, and maybe the best offense in the nation, in Louisiana.
Jo Evans, in her 20th year as head coach of the Aggies, is one of the most respected coaches in the country, and will have her team ready to compete this weekend.
Texas A&M is a scary team. They have an extremely good offense, and a pitching staff that has, at least on occasion, come up big.
The complete regional schedule is below:
NCAA LAFAYETTE REGIONAL SCHEDULE
Friday, May 20, 2016
G1: 3:30 pm – Texas A&M vs. Texas (ESPN2)
G2: 6:00 pm – Boston University vs. Louisiana (ESPNU)
Saturday, May 21, 2016
G3: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
G4: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2
G5: Winner Game 4 vs. Loser Game 3
Sunday, May 22, 2016
G6: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5
G7: (if necessary) Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6