COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The 14th-ranked Texas A&M softball team (38-16, 16-8 Big 12) eked out a 10-8 win over Boise State (34-19, 8-4 Mountain West) on Friday at the Mountain Cove Softball Field.
The Aggies now hold a 2-0 series lead and a guaranteed the series win over the Broncos.
"I came in today knowing we've got to hit the ball," head coach Jo Evans said. "I felt really good about us getting out there in the first inning and scoring. I feel like [freshman pitcher Lauren] Ainsley was pitching a little tight out there with the lead. In the sixth inning, she just got in a bit of trouble. I didn't want it to go that way, but we did a good job and won a ballgame."
The game got off to an interesting start as sophomore Emily Albus, who reached on a bunt single, scored on a double through the right side by junior Brittany Walker. Albus was called out for leaving first early, however, and Walker was called back to the plate.
The junior shortstop drew a walk on the redo and was sent to third on a double to left-center by junior Meagan May. A sacrifice fly out to left field by sophomore Cassie Tysarczyk scored Walker for a 1-0 lead after the first inning. The half-inning ended with bases loaded by A&M.
A long solo shot by Boise State's Devon Bridges tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first with two outs.
The tie didn't last long as a home run by May scored three unearned runs for a 4-1 A&M lead. Albus reached on her second bunt single in as many at bats and stole second before Walker reached on an error by the BSU shortstop. With runners on first and second, May pounded a full-count pitch over the left-center field, and the highway behind it, to plate a trio of runs.
"It was nice to see Meagan May out there hitting the ball again," Evans said. "I don't know how far that thing went, but holy smokes, she crushed that thing."
The Aggies extended their lead to 8-1 in the top of the first on a two-run home run by senior Natalie Villarreal and a two-run single by Walker. With sophomore Amber Garza on third after a fielder's choice and two wild pitches, Villarreal sent a ball over dead-centerfield for the 6-1 lead.
Senior Kelsea Orsak singled through the right side and stole second before she ran to third on an infield single by Albus, her third base hit of the game. The left fielder was 3-for-5 on the day. Albus stole second, and with two in scoring position, Walker chipped a single into centerfield to give the Aggies a seven-run lead.
The Broncos narrowed the gap to 8-3 in the bottom of the inning on a bases-loaded, two-RBI single by first baseman Allie Crump.
A sacrifice fly out by Boise State centerfielder Tara Glover scored another run in the bottom of the fourth. The ball should have been a home run over right-center field, but Tysarczyk sprinted to the fence and robbed the ball before stopping a second run from going home. The Aggies held their 8-4 lead through the fifth inning.
In the top of the sixth, Walker led off with a single through the right side and was joined on base by May, who reached on an error by the left fielder. May was replaced by sophomore Taran Tyler on first before sophomore Jenna Stark took a pitch to her left leg to load the bases.
A single up the middle by sophomore Amber Garza that BSU pitcher Lela Work deflected but couldn't control sent Walker and Tyler home for the 10-4 lead.
A tough bottom-of-the-sixth for A&M gave the Broncos four runs and left the Aggies with just a two-run lead entering the top of the seventh. A double, an error and a walk loaded the bases before a no-out single to center scored one. A bases-loaded walk scored a second run before Junior Mel Dumezich entered to pitch.
With one out, shortstop Mackenzie Whyte doubled through the right side and scored two to narrow the score to a 10-8 A&M lead before Dumezich fanned the final two batters.
The Aggies went three-up, three-down in the top of the seventh and entered the final frame in a dangerous situation. Only one runner reached base, however, and Walker lurched left to make a difficult final catch as A&M won 10-8 and took a 2-0 series lead.
Freshman Lauren Ainsley (5-1) took the win after allowing seven earned runs on seven hits and six walks in five innings. Dumezich earned her second save of the season, throwing two innings. The junior allowed no runs on one hit and one walk while striking out three. Boise State's Kenzie Cole suffered the loss, allowing three earned runs on six hits and three walks in 2 2/3 innings pitched.
The Aggies and Broncos will close out the three-game nonconference series tomorrow at 5 p.m. CST. Listen to the game live in College Station on Sports Radio 1150 AM or worldwide on 95.1-3 The Zone HD/RadioAggieland.com. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com or follow @AggieSoftball.