COLUMBIA, S.C. – The thirteenth-ranked Texas A&M softball team (21-6, 3-2 SEC) dropped game one of a Saturday doubleheader at South Carolina (16-8, 1-4 SEC), 2-1, to even the three-game Southeastern Conference series between the two teams at 1-1. The Gamecocks earned a seven-inning walk-off win with a late home run for the team’s first SEC win of the season. The second game of the doubleheader, to decide the series victor, is set to start at 3:35 p.m. CT/4:35 ET.
Texas A&M and South Carolina played six complete scoreless innings before junior Brittany Clopton scored on an error in the top of the seventh to give the Aggies a 1-0 lead on the Gamecocks. A walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh gave USC the 2-1 win. All three runs in game one were unearned.
The Aggies got a runner aboard in each of the first three innings, but were unable to score a run as six runners were left on base through the first three frames. In the top of the second, sophomore Breanna Dozier pounded a ball to right field that looked like it was going over the fence but dropped for a two-out double.
Texas A&M left the bases loaded in the top of the third. Senior Emily Albus led off with a bunt single and moved to third on wild pitches. Senior Cassie Tysarczyk got on base for the second straight time when catcher’s interference sent her to first. Tysarczyk sent a single up the middle in the first to give the Aggies their first hit of the day. With two on and no outs, senior Amber Garza used a hit-by-pitch to load the bases but all three runners were left on base.
The Gamecocks got a runner to third in the fourth, but a double play by freshman April Ryan and a groundout ended the inning with the game still tied at 0-0. Ryan’s double play was the Aggies’ third of the weekend.
Tysarczyk reached base for the third straight time in the top of the sixth when she directed a base hit to the gap in right-centerfield. A sacrifice bunt by Garza sent the Aggie right fielder to second, but two straight outs made her the seventh runner left on base of the game for Texas A&M.
In the top of the seventh with one out, Clopton chipped a ball just past the infield on the left-field line and sped around first base to reach on a double, her first extra-base hit of the season. A wild pitch sent the left fielder to third, priming the speedy Clopton to score in any situation.
With two outs, Ryan hit to the shortstop who couldn’t handle the ball and allowed Clopton to score the 1-0 run, unearned, as Ryan reached base.
An error by the Aggies in the bottom of the seventh put a runner on base with two outs before the Gamecocks hit a two-run home run over left-centerfield for the walk-off win that tied the series count at 1-1 as USC took the 2-1 win.
Redshirt junior Rachel Fox (6-5) suffered the loss after tossing 6.2 shutout innings. The hurler gave up no earned runs on just three hits and three walks while fanning three. USC’s Julie Sarratt (7-4) earned the win, giving up no earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out nine.
The Aggies and Gamecocks will play the second game of the doubleheader this afternoon to decide the winner of the three-game SEC series. Listen live at AggieAthletics.com and follow the team on Twitter at @AggieSoftball.