COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 21 Texas A&M softball team dropped a 5-1 decision to fifth-ranked Florida, Friday in game one of a three-game Southeastern Conference series at the Aggie Softball Complex on ESPNU. With the loss, the Aggies drop to 29-15 on the season and 9-10 in conference action, while the Gators improve to 38-8 overall and 9-7 in SEC play.
Back in the lineup after a week-long hiatus, senior Amber Garza ripped a double down the line in left in the bottom of the third inning to give the Aggies their only run of the night. Freshman Reagan Boenker also had an extra-base hit, doubling to left in the bottom of the seventh to put two runners in scoring position.
Senior Taran Tyler led Texas A&M offensively as she was 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of infield hits. Seniors Emily Albus, Nicole Morgan and Jenna Stark also had hits for the Aggies, bringing the tally to seven on the night.
Florida got an early 2-0 lead with a first-inning home run over left-centerfield, but Texas A&M hurler Rachel Fox fanned two batters to end the half-inning and keep the Aggies in the game.
Fox (12-8) tossed seven strikeouts through five innings of work on the night. The redshirt junior suffered the loss, however, after allowing four earned runs on eight hits and three walks.
The Aggies cut the UF lead in half in the bottom of the third inning on the wheels of Garza’s rocket to the wall in left. Senior Cassie Tysarczyk drew a one-out walk and moved to second on a base hit to left field from Morgan. Tysarczyk had two walks on the game.
With a triumphant return to the lineup, the left-handed Garza went opposite-field to the corner in left for an RBI double as Tysarczyk scored from second.
The Gators put runners on base in the second, third, and fourth innings, but Fox and a diligent Aggie defense held them at bay through three outs. In the top of the fifth, however, Florida plated three runs on a bases-loaded double and a fielding error to take a 5-1 lead. A perfect double play by centerfielder Emily Albus ended the frame, and the Texas A&M defense allowed no more runners to cross home through the final two innings.
The Aggies put runners on base in each of the final three innings, but were unable to catch up to the Gators’ four-run lead. Tyler led off with her second infield hit of the night in the bottom of the seventh before a two-base blast from Boenker moved the pair into scoring position. Boenker got a couple of big smacks on the night, looking sharp at the plate for Texas A&M.
Both Tyler and Boenker were stranded in the seventh after a double play from the Gators ended the game with a 5-1 Florida victory.
Florida pitcher Hannah Rogers (19-6) earned the win in the circle, giving up one earned run on seven hits and two walks while striking out three batters in the complete-game effort.
The Aggies and Gators will face off in game two Saturday at 5 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast live from the Aggie Softball Complex on ESPNU. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.