COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Junior Amber Garza hit her second grand slam of the season as the No. 10 Texas A&M softball team topped No. 13 LSU, 6-2, Friday in the Southeastern Conference series opener at the Aggie Softball Complex.
The Aggies lead the three-game series 1-0 and improve to 34-7 on the season and 6-6 in conference play with the win, while LSU falls to 33-9 overall and 9-4 in SEC action. The teams will play game two tomorrow at 4 p.m. on ESPN, following the annual Maroon & White football game.
After letting two Tigers on base in the top of the first, the Aggies came out swinging in the bottom of the inning to set the table for Garza’s big hit. Junior Cassie Tysarczyk started the offensive frenzy with a one-out single up the middle, and stole second before senior Mel Dumezich reached on a walk. With runners on first and second and two outs, junior Jenna Stark stepped up to the plate and hammered a pitch to the fence in left. The ball bounced at the top of the wall and landed inside the stadium for an RBI double that scored Tysarczyk for the 1-0 lead.
Freshman Cali Lanphear followed with a walk to load the bases before Garza stepped up and cranked a ball over the fence in right to push A&M out to a huge 5-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
LSU continued to put runners on base, reaching third in both the second and third innings, but the Aggie defense wanted none of it and sent the Tigers back to their cage.
Stark hit her second double of the game in the bottom of the third, and Dumezich added a base hit. Stark was 2-for-3 on the night with an RBI and a run scored, while Dumezich was 1-for-1 with a run scored and two walks.
The Tigers pounced on their first run of the night in the top of the fifth on an RBI single, but the big play of the half-inning was junior Emily Albus’ assist from centerfield on a throw home for the first out of the frame.
Leading 5-1 in the bottom of the sixth, A&M struck again. Lanphear led off with a bunt single and was pushed to second when senior Meagan May was hit by a pitch. Junior Allison Garrett entered to run at first before a passed ball sent the pair into scoring position. With two outs, Albus singled to the first baseman, scoring Lanphear for the unearned run.
A leadoff solo home run in the top of the seventh was LSU’s only response as the game drew to a close with A&M up 6-2.
Dumezich (23-5) threw nine strikeouts and gave up just two earned runs on her way to a victory over No. 1 NPF draft pick Rachele Fico. Fico (20-6) fanned five aggies and allowed five earned runs on seven hits and four walks.
The top-15 Aggies and Tigers will rematch tomorrow in the Maroon Out game at 4 p.m. on ESPN. The first 150 fans through the gate will receive maroon t-shirts. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.