COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The eighth-ranked Aggie softball team (9-1) avenged a Friday loss to McNeese State (4-5) with an 11-3 run-rule victory before taking a 5-4 walk-off win against Oregon State (3-7), Saturday in the Aggie Classic.
The Cowgirls handed the Aggies their first loss of the season on Friday, but Texas A&M responded with a resounding five-inning run-rule victory Saturday. Seniors Cassie Tysarczyk and Amber Garza each had three RBI and a home run on the game, and sophomore Cali Lanphear joined in with her first home run of the season.
Illegal pitches plagued McNeese State early, sending the first run of the day home for the Aggies. Freshman April Ryan reached on a base hit in the first and was sent around the bases on a groundout and a pair of illegal pitches.
A second-inning solo blast from the Cowgirls evened the score but no other runners were allowed on base in the half-inning.
Tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the second, Tysarczyk earned a walk and took second on a sacrifice bunt before also advancing home on two illegal throws. One of the pitches pushed sophomore Breanna Dozier to second and, after a wild pitch sent her to third, allowed her to score on a base hit down the left-field line from senior Emily Albus.
McNeese State again tied the score, at 3-3, in the top of the third. Both runs were unearned when a dropped third strike allowed a runner to reach first. The Aggies’ Friday game against the Cowgirls also featured a dropped third strike that allowed two runs in the inning, but the Texas A&M offense rebounded in game two.
Lanphear and Garza each went yard in the third, plating two runs apiece for the 7-3 lead. Garza’s shot scored pinch runner Allison Garrett after senior Nicole Morgan singled to centerfield. A throwing error from third put Tyler on base in time for Lanphear’s home run. Both runs were unearned.
A four-run bottom-of-the-fourth gave the Aggies the eight-run advantage they needed for the run-rule, and solid pitching from redshirt junior Rachel Fox sealed the deal. Fox (3-0) gave up just one earned run on four hits without throwing a walk. She struck out four in the five-inning, complete-game effort.
A one-out base hit from Garza plated Ryan for the 8-3 lead before, with two on, Tysarczyk sent a bomb over the fence in right field for three RBI. Also of note in the fourth inning was a bunt from Tyler that twisted into the dirt along the base line and stopped immediately, giving her a base hit on the play.
The Aggies led for much of game two, vs. the Beavers, but Oregon State hit a three-run home run in the sixth to tie the game before Lanphear came through with a seventh-inning walk-off double.
Two straight walks to start the game put senior Albus and Ryan on base and an infield single by Morgan loaded the bags. Tysarczyk drew a walk to force the 1-0 run before the end of the first.
Tysarczyk drew another RBI walk in the second, as did Garza, to stretch the lead to 3-0. Albus and junior Brittany Clopton scored on the plays, reaching on a base hit and a walk, respectively. Morgan also drew a walk to load the bases before Garza’s plate appearance.
Albus’ second single of the game and third of the day plated the 4-0 run in the third. The shot to centerfield scored Dozier from third. Lanphear had a double in the third inning, but was thrown out at third, and sophomore Alex Masek reached on a base hit.
The Aggies left 11 runners on base against the Beavers, and left bases loaded at the end of the first three innings.
A lone run by the Beavers in the top of the fourth was scored on a pair of base hits and narrowed the Aggies’ lead to three runs. Two innings later, Oregon State scored three on a game-tying home run by designated player Alexis Gonzalez.
Freshman Abby Donnell entered to pitch for the Aggies in the top of the seventh after a solid effort by sophomore transfer Katie Marks. Marks gave up four earned runs on eight hits while striking out one and walking none in six innings of work.
Donnell hit the first batter and the next reached on a bunt single but the rookie quickly shut down three hitters to get the Aggies out of a jam. Donnell (2-0) took the win after throwing one inning – giving up one hit and striking out one.
With the game tied in the bottom of the seventh, Tyler drew a four-pitch walk and took second on a sacrifice bunt by senior Jenna Stark. A double slugged to the wall in left-centerfield by Lanphear was plenty as Tyler scored the walk-off run from second.
The Aggie Classic ends Sunday with a 12:15 p.m. CT game against Tulsa. To follow the action, listen and watch live on AggieAthletics.com and follow the live stats at tamustats.com. For more information on Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.
HEAD COACH JO EVANS
On the McNeese State game…
“I think our team showed a lot of heart today. That McNeese game was a circus. It was crazy what was going on out there, with all the time outs and the delays. There was no tempo to the game. That was nuts. There were a lot of distractions. I thought our kids did a nice job of not paying attention to any of that, and taking advantage of all of the opportunities they had. The night before, we couldn’t get any timely hits and today our kids really stepped up.”
On leaving bases loaded three times vs. Oregon State…
“That’s the way this game works. In the first three innings of the game we had bases loaded and couldn’t figure out a way to score a run. It was frustrating for our hitters, but they didn’t give up. They kept plugging along, but we’ve got to be better. If we get one hit out of any of those innings with the bases loaded, the game looks a whole lot different; we get some of our youngsters in there to get some innings, we get Donnell out there sooner, just a lot of different things happen.”
On Abby Donnell’s closing performance vs. Oregon State…
“She did a great job. I was hanging on to Katie Marks as long as I could. Katie deserved that win. She threw some pitches in [the sixth] inning to get herself out of a jam, and we couldn’t get outside of it. We’ve got to do a better job to make some plays on defense in that situation, but I just didn’t want to bring Abby in with that situation – with runners on, the game is on the line. I didn’t want her to feel nervous, or too much pressure. That’s how Abby pitched in California. She did a great job. She’s got that little floater she throws and gets people off balance, and [Nicole Morgan] I thought was terrific behind the plate for Abby. She knew what to call.
On Cali Lanphear’s offensive performance…
“Cali has really struggled, and it says a lot about her that she can dig in in that at bat for her biggest hit so far this season to give us a win. You don’t want to hang around in a game like this any longer than you have to. That team had all the momentum and we needed to figure out a way to end it in the seventh inning and not give them any more chances. Taran Tyler did a nice job to work her way on base. She’s really done a good job with her on-base percentage, and getting herself out there and finding ways to get on. I’m really happy for Cali and for our kids in that inning.”