MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – Freshman Suzanne White hit a pinch-hit grand slam as the No. 13 Texas A&M softball team (20-5) topped College of Charleston (16-10), 11-3 on Wednesday at Patriots Point.
Freshmen came through big for the Aggies, as April Ryan also picked up four RBI on the day before White’s seventh-inning grand slam. The four-RBI home run was the first hit of White’s young career, in just her third at-bat of the season. Reagan Boenker earned her second career start behind the plate for the Aggies and had a stellar performance, aiding in the team’s eighth defensive pickoff of the season.
Sophomore Breanna Dozier also had a home run for Texas A&M, getting the scoring started with a two-run blast in the second inning.
The Cougars put runners on base in the bottom of the first with three straight two-out base hits, but Aggie right fielder Cassie Tysarczyk tossed a runner out at home to end the inning and get Texas A&M out of a jam.
A home run over left-centerfield in the top of the second by Dozier gave the Aggies a 2-0 lead. Dozier’s bomb also plated senior Jenna Stark, whose run was unearned after she reached base on a throwing error.
Texas A&M loaded the bases in the top of the fifth before Ryan cleared the bags with a three-RBI triple to right-center. Sophomore Cali Lanphear led off in the fifth with an infield single, and freshman Reagan Boenker was pegged in the thigh by the first pitch of her at-bat to join Lanphear on base.
Senior Emily Albus put down her second bunt hit of the game to juice the bases before Ryan took a ball to the fence for a standup triple. With a runner on third, Tysarczyk flied out to center for the sacrifice as Ryan scored the 6-0 run.
CofC put two on base again in the bottom of the sixth. Boenker started a pickoff from behind the plate, as second baseman April Ryan and third baseman Amber Garza caught the Cougar in a rundown. Ryan added a diving catch for the final out in the inning.
Ryan continued to be a producer for the Aggies in the top of the seventh when her double to left-center scored senior Allison Garrett for the 7-0 lead. Garrett was pinch-running for Boenker, who reached on an infield single. Ryan was 2-for-4 on the day with four RBI and two runs scored.
Tysarczyk drew a walk and moved to second on a base hit by freshman Celena Massey, who earned the first hit of her Aggie career with the pinch hit. With bases loaded, White entered the game as a pinch hitter and sent the first pitch soaring out of the park over left-centerfield for the 11-0 lead.
The Cougars started a rally in the bottom of the seventh, scoring three runs on a two-RBI double and a sac fly to stop the shutout. CofC was unable to catch up to A&M, however, and the game ended in an 11-3 victory for the Aggies.
Redshirt junior Rachel Fox (6-4) earned the win in the circle for the Aggies, tossing five shutout innings that included four strikeouts and four hits allowed while retiring the final 12 batters she faced. Freshman Abby Donnell tossed one shutout inning for no decision, giving up two hits, and junior Lauren Ainsley allowed three earned runs on three walks and two hits in one inning as the Aggies’ closer.
CofC’s Hope Klicker (8-8) started the game in the circle and took the loss after giving up five earned runs on five hits and a walk, while fanning four batters.
Up next, the Aggies travel to Columbia, S.C., for a three-game Southeastern Conference series at South Carolina. Game one against the Gamecocks is slated for a 5 p.m. CT/6 ET first pitch. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.
HEAD COACH JO EVANS
On the slow start to the game…
“I didn’t like our slow start, and not because we weren’t productive getting runs up there, but I thought we were really flat. There was not a lot of energy in that dugout and it kind of carried onto the field. I’m never happy with that, but I thought we turned it around pretty quickly. Dozier gets up there and gets a home run. Jenna Starks gets on on an error – she just figures out a way to make something happen and that ended up really hurting them when we then get Bre up there and hit the long ball. I love how aggressive she was to just go up there, get that first pitch and drive it. From there, the floodgates kind of opened.”
On April Ryan’s performance this season…
“She plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played. If someone came to the ballpark and brought their young kids, and you want to find a player that your kid could emulate, it should be April. She loves to play the game, she plays hard, she’s consistent. She just gets out there and I thought defensively she made some really nice plays out there. There were a couple of tough ones that she handled. She is just really so heady. I love the way she plays the game and gets aggressive. She did a really nice job.”
On the freshman performances…
“I’m so excited for both [Suzanne White and Celena Massey] because they’ve only had very few opportunities and it’s tough with a senior-heavy team. They came out and both got their first hits. [Celena] found a way to get a flare in there and a base hit. I told her, like my dad used to always say to me, ‘It looks like a line drive in the scorebook.’ And then [Suzanne] went up there aggressive – she’s been aggressive in all of her opportunities – and she got all of it. The second she hit it, that thing was gone. My favorite thing of the day was how excited her teammates were for her. They were out of the dugout, fired up. Early-on, you saw Dozier hit one and our team was still asleep in the dugout. They didn’t even know it was going out. That’s when I knew we were not with it. When Suz got up there and go the grand slam, our kids were really excited about that.”
On Rachel Fox’s outing in the circle…
“I liked to see her settle in right there. She just needs some innings and needs the innings to stay sharp. Even early when they got a few hits, there was a fly ball that I thought we should have caught, there was a grounder that kind of got eyes on it, and then she gave up one hard hit. It was nice to see us get out of that one inning, with Cassie coming up and throwing the kid out at home to shut down that one inning.”