BOISE, Idaho - The No. 14 Texas A&M softball team (39-16, 16-8 Big 12) completed a sweep of Boise State (34-20, 8-4 Mountain West) with a 9-2 victory in the series finale Saturday at the Mountain Cove Softball Field.
With the win, A&M takes the nonconference series, 3-0. A young Boise State program honored its first four-year senior class on Senior Day during the game.
"It's fun for me to see some kids get on a roll," head coach Jo Evans said. "Today Meagan May was terrific at the plate. To see her go up there this weekend and get some multi-hit games says to me, 'I'm here, Coach. I'm ready to go.' We've got some kids that were struggling a little bit, but now are feeling really good about themselves. It makes me feel really excited going down the stretch. The first two games of the series were tough but we battled it out. This third game separated us out."
In the top of the first, junior Brittany Walker took a walk and ran to second on a single through the left side by junior Meagan May. With runners at first and second and two outs, junior Mel Dumezich singled up the middle to advance the Walker and May. Walker tried to stretch to two bases for the 1-0 lead, but was thrown out at home to end the inning.
The Aggies were able to put a run on the board in the second when sophomore Amber Garza nailed a pitch and sent it sailing over right field for a leadoff solo home run and a 1-0 A&M lead.
A deep hit to centerfield by sophomore Nicole Morgan could have been a three-run home run but was robbed by BSU centerfielder Tara Glover as it topped the fence. Sophomores Cassie Tysarczyk and Amber Garza were in scoring position after reaching on a hit by pitch and a fielder's choice.
The Broncos tied the game in the bottom of the third with a pair of singles. The 1-1 draw was held through the fifth inning.
Tysarczyk proved the strength and accuracy of her arm with a second assist from right field to home on the weekend when she prevented the go-ahead run by the Broncos in the bottom of the fourth. The runner, designated player Allie Crump, rounded third and was just halfway down the third baseline when A&M catcher May came out to meet her with the tag.
Three home runs in the top of the fifth scored five runs for A&M, who regained the lead a 6-1. Dumezich and Morgan each hit two-run bombs before senior Natalie Villarreal hit a solo shot, her third home run in as many games on the weekend. Five straight runners scored with one out in the half-inning.
A&M stretched to an 8-1 lead in the top of the sixth on a two-run double by Morgan. The sophomore was 3-for-4 on the day with a single, a home run, a double and four RBI.
"I thought we had some really good at bats in the fifth inning," Evans said. "Nicole Morgan was really good today on two strikes, fouling off pitches. Mel did the same thing, fouling off two-strike pitches. We just kept in there, hitting and giving everybody the green light. I thought we did a great job swinging the bat and getting hits with two strikes."
May drew a walk and was replaced by sophomore Kaydee Rayburn before Tysarczyk also reached on a walk. The pair advanced into scoring position on a passed ball before Morgan sent a double into left field to score two runs. Tysarczyk's run was unearned.
Boise State scored one on a bases-loaded fielder's choice in the bottom of the inning, but that was all they would get as Tysarczyk threw a runner out at second on the play and Dumezich fanned the final batter.
The Aggies got one more in the top of the seventh to lead 9-2. Sophomore Emily Albus singled to right field and stole second before May hit a laser down the left-field line to plate the speedy left fielder. Albus had seven base hits on the weekend, six of them infield singles.
"Emily is so tough," Evans said. "She is basically one that looks you in the eye and says, 'I'm going to bunt. See if you can get me out.' She makes it tough on them every time. She's getting better about driving the ball in the outfield and getting herself a hit. Her approach at the plate is so good and she's feeling really confident right now."
Dumezich (28-11) retired the side in the bottom of the seventh and picked up the win, throwing six strikeouts and giving up two earned runs on seven hits in seven complete innings of work. BSU's Aubray Zell (20-12) suffered the loss after allowing five earned runs on 10 hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings pitched.
"I thought our kids played really well," Evans said. "Mel was terrific. They hit the ball hard a couple of times, but boy she really looked good. She and Meagan did a really good job of mixing it up and keeping them on their heels. Typically when you have a three-game series, hitters will see a pitcher enough and really start getting on to them. It actually worked in the reverse. Mel and Meagan got a lot better at reading the hitters and figuring out what pitches we could get them out with. They did a really nice job today."
The Aggies will learn their postseason fate tomorrow during the Division I NCAA Selection Show at 9 p.m. on ESPNU. NCAA Regional competitions will take place May 18-20. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com or follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.
"I'm excited to find out tomorrow night where we will be," Evans said. "I hope I'm sleeping in my own bed. Our kids have fought really hard."