COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Senior Mel Dumezich reached the 900 career strikeouts mark as the 14th-ranked Texas A&M softball team took a 5-2 win over Mississippi State, Friday in the Southeastern Conference series opener between the Aggies (38-13, 9-12 SEC) and Bulldogs (31-20, 7-15 SEC).
Dumezich fanned 10 hitters on the night and now owns 902 career strikeouts in the final regular-season weekend of her four-year career. Earlier this week the ace was the female recipient of the Texas A&M Athletics Distinguished Lettermen’s Award, given to the top male and female student-athlete each year.
After three-and-a-half scoreless innings, the Aggies got on the board with three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Junior Amber Garza led off with a first-pitch single down the right-field line. Freshman Cali Lanphear was hit by a pitch for the second time on the day to reach first and push Garza to second.
A sacrifice bunt by junior Nicole Morgan moved both runners into scoring position in time for a Cassie Tysarczyk bunt single that plated Garza for the 1-0 run. Attempting to make a play, the MSU first baseman underhanded a ball to the catcher, but the catcher bobbled the ball and allowed Lanphear to score on the error and moved Tysarczyk to second.
Dumezich drew a two-out walk and junior Emily Albus bunted and reached first on a single just before the late throw from the catcher sailed over the head of the first baseman. The throwing error advanced all three runners as Tysarczyk ran home to give A&M the 3-0 lead.
Tysarczyk came through for the Aggies again in the bottom of the fifth with a two-RBI double to left field that expanded the A&M lead to 5-0. Garza drew a walk and moved to third when Lanphear singled to right field and advanced to second on the throw. Tysarczyk’s two-out double scored the pair and gave the junior three RBI on the night. She was 2-for-3 on the night with a run scored.
Mississippi State started a late rally in the top of the seventh, but it wasn’t enough as A&M ended the game with a 5-2 victory. The Bulldogs plated two runs on a home run over left field and added two more runners on the bags after the play, but both were left stranded on the third out.
A&M stranded four runners in scoring position on the night, but productive fourth and fifth innings were all the Aggies needed to take a 1-0 series lead over Mississippi State.
Dumezich (25-6) took the win as she reached the 900 career strikeouts milestone with 10 tonight. The senior allowed just one earned run on six hits and a walk through seven complete innings. MSU’s Stephanie Becker (10-8) suffered the loss after giving up three earned runs on six hits and two walks while striking out four in a complete-game effort.
The Aggies and Bulldogs will rematch tomorrow at 4 p.m. at the Aggie Softball Complex. All campers who attended Aggie Softball Camps can get in to the game FREE with the wearing of their camp T-shirts. The first 200 kids in the gate will also get a free hacky sack. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.