COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Sophomore Cali Lanphear hit a grand slam and senior Cassie Tysarczyk added a walk-off home run as the 21st-ranked Texas A&M softball team (29-14) run-ruled Sam Houston State (22-19), 11-2 in five innings in a Wednesday nonconference matchup at the Aggie Softball Complex.
Lanphear’s bases-clearing blast came in the second inning and was the first grand slam of the sophomore’s young career. Tysarczyk’s two-run shot topped the wall in left-centerfield to force the run rule in the bottom of the fifth inning. Lanphear was 1-for-2 on the night with the grand slam, and also reached base on a hit-by-pitch. Tysarczyk was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBI.
Senior Jenna Stark was also 2-for-3 with three RBI, and scored one run. The first baseman had a pair of base hits ripped through the left side. Senior Emily Albus was 2-for-4 with a two runs scored.
Redshirt junior Rachel Fox (12-7) earned the win after tossing three complete shutout innings. Fox allowed just one hit, while striking out two batters in three frames.
Texas A&M ended the first inning with a 2-0 advantage after a bases-loaded line drive off of the SHSU second baseman’s glove by senior Jenna Stark. Consecutive one-out base hits from junior Brittany Clopton and seniors Cassie Tysarczyk and Nicole Morgan put three on base in time for Stark’s shot.
The Aggies continued their momentum in the second inning, scoring seven runs to take a 9-0 lead.
Senior Taran Tyler led off with an infield hit, and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Reagan Boenker. The freshman was safe on the play as a bad throw pulled the first baseman off the bag. An infield hit from senior Emily Albus loaded the bases before pinch hitter Breanna Dozier hit into a fielder’s choice. Tyler beat the throw home, however, to score the 3-0 run as no runners were thrown out on the play.
A sacrifice fly from Tysarczyk added another run as Boenker scored, unearned. A bases-loaded hit through the left side from Stark sent Albus across the plate and, after a fielder’s choice by freshman April Ryan loaded the bases again, Lanphear slugged a sure thing over the fence in centerfield to stretch the Texas A&M lead to 9-0 after the second inning. All four runs from Lanphear’s bomb were unearned.
Sam Houston State responded with a solo home run over left-centerfield in the top of the fourth after stranding a runner at second in the third. The Bearkats added their second-and-final run of the night on a base hit down the line in left after a walk and a hit-by-pitch put runners on base in the fifth.
With Texas A&M leading 9-2 in the top of the fifth, the Aggies just needed one run to pick up the eight-after-five run-rule win. Albus picked up her second hit of the night, a bunt single, to reach base. With two outs, Tysarczyk hammered a pitch over the wall to give Texas A&M the lift it needed for the 11-2 run-rule.
Sam Houston State’s Haley Baros (9-9) started the game and took the loss after giving up four earned runs on seven hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings of work.
The Aggies are back in action at home this weekend, hosting No. 5 Florida in a three-game Southeastern Conference series. Friday and Saturday’s games vs. the Gators will be aired live on ESPNU. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.
HEAD COACH JO EVANS
On Lanphear’s grand slam…
“I thought she had three really good at bats. The first one, she hit the ball square and right to the second baseman. It’s nice to see her get up there and look comfortable. Coach [Mary Jo] Firnbach – when we’re in our meeting talking about the lineup said, ‘Let’s get her in. Let’s see what we can do.’ She had a good day yesterday in batting practice. We keep trying to get her in the lineup because we believe in her. She’s really struggled so far and we keep saying that when Lanphear gets hot, that’s a big difference in our team, and a big difference in our offensive output. So, it’s nice to see her get out there and really get comfortable.”
On the Aggies’ offense overall…
“I thought our team did a good job hitting mistakes. You know when those balls are going right back up the middle that that ball is on the plate. We did hit the ball hard. I thought Jenna Stark, in particular, really stroked the ball well, and Cassie is feeling really good. The first ball she hit she just drove it and made it look easy up there. It’s nice to see those kids coming around. Taran Tyler flies out to right, but finally squares up a pitch on the outside corner of the plate. We just needed that. Emily Albus does what she does. She sets the table and gives us a chance to get to Cassie in that inning so that we have a chance to score.”
On Rachel Fox’s outing in the circle…
“She looked really sharp. She’s just so confident out there and you can see that our team is confident behind her. We love having her out there. She’s got such a great presence. She got her work in tonight and then we get the opportunity to get Katie Marks out there.”