NORMAN, Okla. – The Texas A&M softball team (37-21) ended Hofstra’s season with a 7-0 win over the Pride (34-15), Saturday at the NCAA Norman Regional live on ESPN3 from the OU Softball Complex. The win sends the Aggies into Championship Sunday at the regional, to rematch against No. 7 Oklahoma at 1 p.m. CT on ESPN3.
The Aggies struck early with three runs in the top of the first. A fielder’s choice and three base hits loaded the bases before a sacrifice fly from senior Jenna Stark sent the 1-0 run across the plate. Freshman April Ryan followed with a two-run triple to left-centerfield for the 3-0 lead.
Seniors Amber Garza, Cassie Tysarczyk and Nicole Morgan each scored in the half-inning, and Tysarczyk, Morgan and senior Emily Albus contributed base hits.
Texas A&M stretched its advantage to 4-0 with a run in the top of the third. Garza reached on an error in left field and was replaced on the base paths by senior Allison Garrett. Garrett moved to second on a groundout and advanced to third on a base hit from Morgan. Sophomore Alex Masek pinch ran for Morgan, and was thrown out on an attempted double steal. The play allowed Garrett to score, however, unearned.
Hofstra put two runners on base for the first time of the night in the bottom of the fourth inning, but a double play turned by Ryan at second base ended the inning with the Aggies holding tight to a 4-0 lead.
A&M stranded two on base for the second-consecutive inning in the top of the fifth. Morgan hit a two-out single to centerfield and was joined on base by Stark with a ball bounced high over the pitcher’s head. In the fourth, Ryan and Albus each had bunt hits. Morgan was 3-for-4 on the evening with one run scored.
The Aggies didn’t relent and continued to score runs with two outs in the top of the seventh. Albus led off in the half-inning with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from freshman Reagan Boenker. An infield hit from Tysarczyk put runners on the corners in time for a two-out error that sent Stark to first and allowed both Albus and Tysarczyk to score. Albus was 2-for-3 on the night with a walk and one run scored. Tysarczyk was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
A double to right-centerfield from Ryan plated Stark for the 7-0 run, the Aggies’ final run of the night. Ryan was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle as she went 3-for-4 vs. Hofstra and contributed a team-best three RBI.
Redshirt junior Rachel Fox (15-10) earned the shutout win, allowing just four hits and walking one batter while striking out six. Hofstra’s Taylor Pirone (17-8) drew the loss, giving up three earned runs on 11 hits and one walk while fanning one Aggie batter.
The Aggies will rematch against Oklahoma Sunday at 1 p.m. CT on ESPN3. The Sooners need just one win to advance to the Super Region level, and a Texas A&M win would force a second game, to be played at 3:30 CT for the regional title.
For more information on the NCAA Normal Regional, visit the Sooners’ regional page here. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.