COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The 10th-ranked Texas A&M softball team (7-0) remained undefeated as it topped Pittsburgh (0-2), 7-3, and battled to a 1-0 shutout of No. 23 North Carolina (6-3) Friday on day one of the Aggie Classic at the Aggie Softball Complex.
Junior Emily Albus went 4-for-5 on the day with two runs scored. Senior Mel Dumezich, juniors Nicole Morgan, Amber Garza and Jenna Stark each contributed two RBI despite gusting winds that carried the ball back toward home plate and allowed A&M no home runs for the first time this season. The Aggies will rematch with both teams tomorrow on day two of the Aggie Classic.
A&M fought to a 7-3 win over Pitt in game one to improve to 6-0 on the season. The Panthers struck first, scoring an unearned run on a double to left field. A&M answered immediately, however, when a hard-hit single by Morgan sent Albus home from third.
A Pitt sacrifice fly out in the top of the fourth put the Panthers back in a one-run lead, but the Aggies again responded in the next half-inning with a pair of runs. A two-out double by Dumezich plated Albus and senior Meagan May for the 3-2 lead.
The battle continued as a solo home run by Pitt in the top of the fifth evened the score again at 3-3.
In the bottom of the fifth, Stark hammered a single up the middle and gave junior Cassie Tysarczyk time to score from second for the go-ahead run. May slugged a ball that was sure to clear the fence to center field with bases loaded, but gusting winds carried the ball back and into right field for the final out of the inning as the Aggies held their 4-3 lead.
Dumezich entered to pitch for A&M in the top of the sixth, loading the bases before shutting down the final batter with a strikeout.
The Aggies stretched to a 7-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth on the wheels of a two RBI triple by Garza and a sacrifice fly out by Stark.
Dumezich threw two strikeouts and a groundout for a three-up, three-down bottom-of-the-seventh to hold onto the 7-3 win for a save. Ainsley (2-0) took the win after striking out five batters and allowing two earned runs on four hits and a walk. Pitt's Alexa Larkin (0-1) took her first loss of the season, giving up six earned runs on 10 hits and eight walks while fanning four.
A&M put three runners on through the first four innings vs. UNC but were unable to capitalize on chances until the bottom of the fifth. Garza reached on catcher interference and flew home for an unearned run when Clopton poked a double into left field for the 1-0 lead.
That was the only run the Aggies would need as they took a one-run victory over the Tar Heels. Albus had two singles during the game and was joined in the hits column by Clopton and Morgan, who had a seventh-inning single.
UNC put seven runners on base with four hits and three walks, but a determined Aggie offense held them at bay for the shutout.
Dumezich (5-0) picked up her 82nd career win and 28th career shutout with the win, fanning seven batters and giving up six hits while walking three. UNC's Lori Spingola (3-2) took the loss after giving up one unearned run on four hits and no walks, and striking out six.
The Aggies will rematch with both UNC (3 p.m.) and Pitt (5:15 p.m.) tomorrow on the second day of the tournament. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.