COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 13 Texas A&M softball team dropped a 7-0 game to No. 15 Missouri in the first game of the Aggies’ Southeastern Conference-opening series, Friday at the Aggie Softball Complex. With the win, the Tigers (13-3, 1-0 SEC) lead the three-game series, 1-0, and the Aggies (17-5) fall to 0-1 in conference play.
The Aggies struggled at the plate against the Tigers, picking up just three hits while allowing 11 and committing two errors. Junior Rachel Fox (5-3) suffered her first conference loss in the circle after giving up three earned runs on four hits. Fox did not walk any batters and struck out two through 3 1/3 innings of work.
Missouri struck early, scoring an unearned run in the top of the first inning. Tiger leadoff hitter Taylor Gadbois singled and reached second on an error before a wild pitch and another base hit sent her home for the 1-0 Mizzou lead.
A pair of home runs and a two-base error stretched the Tigers’ advantage to 6-0 in the top of the fourth. Aggie freshman Abby Donnell entered to pitch in midway through the half-inning, tossing the final two outs. Donnell allowed one earned run on one walk and four hits, while fanning two in 3 2/3 frames of relief.
Texas A&M had a couple of bright spots defensively with two outfield assists at second base that caught Missouri runners off guard as they attempted to take extra bags on a base hit. Senior Cassie Tysarczyk’s throw from right in the top of the first gave the Aggies their first out of the game. Sophomore Cali Lanphear also recorded an out when her throw from left in the top of the third sent Missouri’s only base runner of the inning back to the visiting dugout.
Senior Nicole Morgan continued to be dominant behind the plate, catching a runner stealing to end the top of the second inning. The catcher has caught four runners stealing this season, and leads the SEC by a long shot with seven pickoffs.
Missouri hit a third home run, a solo shot over left in the sixth inning, to pick up the Tigers’ final run of the game for the 7-0 lead.
Seniors Emily Albus and Amber Garza, and freshman April Ryan had one hit each on the night for the Aggies, and Garza and Morgan reached base on walks. Ryan was the only Texas A&M player with an extra-base hit, as she reached on a hard-hit double to right-center in the bottom of the fourth.
Missouri pitcher Tori Finucane (6-2) allowed just three hits and walked two batters for the shutout, striking out seven Aggies on the way to her first SEC victory of the season.
The SEC-opening game ended with 1,001 shots of fireworks in honor of Texas A&M Head Coach Jo Evans’ 1,000th victory, earned last weekend against Wisconsin. Evans is the only active SEC coach to have reached the milestone.
The Aggies and Tigers will rematch Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Aggie Softball Complex. Texas A&M softball officials will meet prior to the game to discuss Sunday’s weather forecast, and could possibly combine Saturday and Sunday’s contests into a 1 p.m. doubleheader Saturday. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.