Arizona softball: Seen & heard in College Station, Texas

2013-05-18T00:00:00Z 2013-05-18T15:48:00Z Arizona softball: Seen & heard in College Station, TexasPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 18, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Graduation

The Aggies held an impromptu graduation ceremony in their team room around 4:45 Friday.

Outfielders Cassie Tysarczyk and Sydney Shannon each received their diplomas, surrounded by family, friends, teammates and Texas A&M's president and athletic director.

The two skipped graduation last week because of the SEC Tournament.

"It was really awesome to have all my teammates around me, and all my family," Tysarczyk said. "After about five minutes of being in there, I was shooing them out of the team room. I just wanted to focus on the game.

"It was really nice to have them around. But my main focus was definitely not on getting my diploma.

"It was on beating the hell out of Penn."

Quotable

"How can you look past Arizona? That's almost comical."

Baylor coach Glenn Moore

Hey coach

Former Arizona Wildcats great Kristie Fox came down to watch her sister's team play.

Kellie Fox, like her big sister a shortstop, is redshirting this season for the UA after transferring from UCLA.

Kristie Fox just finished her first year as the head coach of UT-Arlington, about three hours north of College Station near Dallas. The Mavericks went 25-28 and 9-15 in WAC play.

Fox sat with senior associate athletic director Erika Barnes, the highest-ranked UA official on the trip, and about 20 other Wildcats fans.

Familiar site

Before the game, the Wildcats took batting practice at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park, Texas A&M's gorgeous baseball stadium built with donations from Ed and Howard Kruse, executives who attended Texas A&M and run the creamery about 40 miles from town.

Within the ballpark is the Bill Byrne Student-Athlete Center.

Sound familiar? UA athletic director Greg Byrne's father retired from Texas A&M last year after a decade as the Aggies' athletic director.

The big number

1,402

Attendance for Friday's session, just short of Aggie Softball Complex's capacity. The 19-year-old stadium, composed of metal bleachers and set to be renovated in the next few years, holds 1,750 fans.

Rivals

Baylor and Texas A&M meet in the first game today, and the two are mighty familiar with each other.

The two have faced each other 68 times, with the Aggies sweeping a three-game series last year. That was Texas A&M's last in the Big 12 before moving to the SEC before this season.

Bears coach Glenn Moore thought Aggie Softball Complex looked strange with the pennants from SEC schools flying beyond the outfield wall.

"That's kinda odd," he said. "Still a little bit sad to me, because A&M's a great program and made our conference better by being there."

Texas A&M coach Jo Evans laughed when told of Moore's comments.

"The first time we hung those up, we thought they looked kinda weird, too," she said. "It was strange the first time, not seeing the Baylor flag flying out there."

Evans said there's familiarity on both sides.

"Baylor's used to us, and we're used to Baylor," she said. "We understand their style of play. We understand they're aggressive, and like to steal bases. They like to take extra bases when possible."

Tysarczyk said that "every girl on the team has a friend or knows somebody" who plays for Baylor.

Another quotable

"I guess it'll be a character-builder for us, to see what we're made out of. Obviously it's not the situation you want to be in, but it is. We're not going to sit around and cry about it."

UA coach Mike Candrea, on the UA needing to win four games in a row to take the regional

Another big number

6

Six different UA players struck out against Baylor's Whitney Canion.

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