May 27, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The No. 16 seed Texas A&M softball team (44-15) ended its season with a 4-2 loss to No. 1 Arizona State (55-6) Friday in the final day of the Tempe Super Regional at Farrington Stadium. The game marked the Aggies' seventh 40-win season under head coach Jo Evans and was broadcast nationally on ESPN.
"I thought our kids fought hard today," Evans said. "I was so proud of them. Yesterday was a huge disappointment for our ball club and we left here feeling a little bit heartbroken. I think it shows a lot about our team chemistry and the makeup of our ball club that we came out today and fought so hard."
Arizona State took advantage of their designated visitor status, finishing the top of the first ahead of the Aggies, 2-0. A home run to left-center field by Kaylyn Castillo plated the catcher and Katelyn Boyd.
A&M attempted a rally in the bottom of the inning, filling the bags with two outs. Sophomore Rhi Kliesing walked and was followed on by sophomore Meagan May who took first on a four-pitch walk. All three were stranded on the third out.
Walker sent another double to the outfield in the bottom of the third. The hit landed in left field and rolled to the wall as the shortstop rounded first and slid into second. The sophomore was 3-for-4 on the night. Kliesing again followed Walker onto the bags, this time on a pitch to the right elbow. Neither runner was able to score as the Sun Devils maintained their 2-0 lead through three innings.
"I thought Brittany Walker was terrific tonight," Evans said. "She set the table for us. That's what I'm asking of my kids, let's give ourselves a chance. We just could not get that timely hit early in the game."
The Aggies held three ASU runners at bay in the top of the fourth. The Sun Devils loaded the bases on two walks and a single before Kliesing snagged a high line drive headed for right field to end the inning with no runs in the ASU frame.
Despite a diving stop by sophomore hurler Mel Dumezich and a quick play by junior center fielder Kelsea Orsak, Arizona State pushed ahead to a 4-0 lead in the top of the fifth.
With the bases loaded on two singles and a walk, ASU second baseman Sam Parlich chipped a pitch to the edge of the circle. Dumezich dove to her left and rolled while throwing the ball to May at the plate. May stretched, but the runner had already scored from first.
A two-RBI bomb by May in the bottom of the sixth put the Aggies on the board. The ball cleared the fence in center field and went the extra mile as freshman Amber Garza, who had reached on a walk, and May rounded the bags and narrowed the score to 4-2.
"People here saw what our program is all about," Evans said. "It's a lot of fight. Amber Garza coming back and taking the walk and then Meagan getting the home run - it just ignited us. I'm really pleased with our fight."
The bases were again loaded on the fielder's choice when designated player Alix Johnson lined out to Orsak in center. The center fielder quickly sent the ball home but it was too late as the 4-0 run had already been plated on the sacrifice.
The Aggies were unable to rally in the bottom of the seventh, despite a single to left field by Walker and Arizona State ended the night with its ninth trip to the Women's College World Series (WCWS).
Dumezich ended the season with a 30-10 record. She fanned four batters on the night and allowed four runs on eight hits. ASU's Dallas Escobedo (32-3) struck out nine and gave up two earned runs on four hits by the Aggies.
"It was huge that Mel had the sixth and seventh innings that she had," Evans said. "She just went out there and really buckled down."
Five Aggies whose careers began on the 2008 WCWS team left their cleats on the plate in their last game as seniors. Kliesing, Kelsey Spittler, Andrea Tovar, Missy Siegel and Kara Rau ended their careers at the Tempe Super Regional. For more information on Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com.