COLLEGE STATION, Texas - A five-run first inning lifted the fifth-ranked Texas A&M softball team to a 7-3 victory over Arkansas, Saturday in front of 1,338 fans at the Aggie Softball Complex in the second game of the three-game Southeastern Conference series between the two teams.
The Aggies (25-2, 3-1 SEC) took game one from the Razorbacks (19-9, 0-2 SEC) scoring the 2-1 walk-off run on an error by Arkansas. A&M is guaranteed the series win over Arkansas and will go for the series sweep in the final game, tomorrow at noon CDT.
After struggling to score runs in game one, the Aggies didn't wait to put numbers on the board in game two, plating five runs in the top of the first. Two-out, RBI doubles were the poison of choice in the half-inning as senior Mel Dumezich, freshman Cali Lanphear and junior Jenna Stark used back-to-back-to-back hits to send one runner home each. With a 3-0 lead and two outs, junior Amber Garza hammered a pitch over the wall in left-centerfield, pushing Stark home with the long ball as A&M took a 5-0 first-inning lead. Garza was 2-for-3 on the day with a home run and a triple.
Arkansas narrowed the score to 5-2 in the top of the third, using a base hit and a home run over centerfield to plate two runs.
The Aggies stretched back to a five-run lead in the bottom of the fourth when a two-out Meagan May single lined to centerfield sent runners home from second and third. Junior Taran Tyler got on base first with a one-out single hit just over the head of the third baseman.
A throwing error by Arkansas pitcher Kimmy Beasley allowed sophomore Brittany Clopton to get on base and sent Tyler to third. Clopton stole second to put the pair in scoring position as May stepped up to the plate. Both runs were unearned.
Arkansas stranded three runners in the fifth and sixth innings combined in an attempt to rally. In the top of the seventh, Razorback centerfielder Stephanie Canfield doubled to right-center field and plated a run on the play. The run wasn't enough, however, and A&M took the 7-3 victory to guarantee a series win.
A&M hurler Lauren Ainsley (8-1) earned the first SEC win of her career, throwing seven complete innings and allowing three earned runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out seven. Arkansas starter Hope McLemore (3-2) pitched just 0.2 innings, giving up four earned runs on three hits and a walk for the loss.
The Aggies will go for the series sweep tomorrow as they face the Razorbacks in the series finale at noon CDT. The first 100 fans through the gate will receive Aggie Softball drawstring bags. The "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" promotion will also be in effect, with four kids ages 12-and-under getting into the game for FREE with the purchase of one adult ticket. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.