SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The No. 11 Texas A&M softball team (5-0) remains undefeated at the end of opening weekend after the Aggies played to a 7-1 victory over Dayton (0-4) on the final day of UC Santa Barbara’s Gaucho Classic I on Sunday.
Texas A&M has already recorded 48 runs on 54 hits and 18 walks through five games in 2014. The team owns a .370 batting average and has hit nine doubles, two triples and eight home runs for 45 RBI. Freshman April Ryan and senior Nicole Morgan are already in double digits with 12 and 14 RBI, respectively.
Earning the first starts of their young careers today were the pitching-catching duo of Abby Donnell [pronounced Don-ELL] and Reagan Boenker [pronounced BUNK-er]. The rookies gave up just one hit – a solo home run in the fourth inning.
“I thought the freshmen did great, in terms of pitch calling by [Reagan] Boenker, and command of her pitches by [Abby] Donnell,” Head Coach Jo Evans said. “Fantastic – I give them both an A, actually. There was one pitch they’d love to get back, and really I didn’t think it was a great pitch to call. Aside from that, they were just dead-on.”
The Aggies struck first with a lone run in the top of the second inning. Senior Cassie Tysarczyk was hit by a pitch to take first and stole second before, with two outs, Boenker hit a ball to shallow left field. The Dayton shortstop fielded the ball and threw it to first, but the first baseman dropped it, putting Boenker on first and giving Tysarczyk time to score from second.
Texas A&M used another one-run inning, in the top of the third, to stretch to a 2-0 lead. Ryan followed Boenker in hitting deep to the shortstop and the infielder’s throw was in the dirt at first as Ryan reached on the error. The freshman stole second before senior Amber Garza doubled up the middle to plate the Aggies’ second run of the day.
Dayton hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth to narrow the Aggies’ lead to 2-1, but Texas A&M answered in a big way in the top of the sixth.
Garza led off with an infield single and was replaced by pinch runner Allison Garrett. A base hit to centerfield by senior Taran Tyler sent Garrett home for the 3-1 lead. Donnell and Boenker added back-to-back singles – the first hits of their careers – to load the bases.
An RBI walk by sophomore Breanna Dozier forced the 4-1 run and loaded the bases for a second time on the inning. With two outs, Ryan continued her impressive debut weekend and pounded a bases-clearing triple to left-centerfield to secure the 7-1 lead.
The Flyers had no response after an unassisted double play by Morgan gave Dayton two outs in the top of the seventh. Junior Lauren Ainsley fanned the final batter to end the game with a fifth-straight Aggie win.
Donnell (1-0) tossed five innings in her first career start for the win. The true freshman allowed one earned run on three hits while striking out three. Sophomore Kristen Davenport tossed an inning, giving up one hit and walking one, and Ainsley pitched one inning, giving up one hit and striking out one to end the game.
Dayton’s Emily Froment (0-2) suffered the loss after giving up five earned runs on seven hits and a walk in 5 1/3 innings of work.
Up next, the Aggies return to the Lone Star State for a 5 p.m. Wednesday game at Sam Houston State before hosting the Aggie Classic next weekend. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.