CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – The 12th-ranked Texas A&M softball team (12-4) ended the weekend with a five-inning, 12-0 run-rule win over Cal State Northridge (6-6), Saturday in the Aggies’ final day at the Mary Nutter Classic.
Texas A&M ends the weekend at 3-2, their only losses to top-15 opponents No. 14 Arizona and No. 11 Nebraska.
The Texas A&M pitching staff combined for a dominant, 4-hit shutout performance with a stingy Aggie defense helping get outs. Sophomore transfer Katie Marks started the game in the circle and was replaced by junior Lauren Ainsley. Sophomore Kristen Davenport closed the game in the 5-inning run-rule.
The Aggies struck early, taking a 4-0 lead on Northridge in the bottom of the first. A couple of illegal pitches put freshman April Ryan on base with a four-pitch walk. The second baseman ended the day 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI.
With one out, senior Nicole Morgan hammered a pitch to centerfield that took a hop and went over the fence for a ground-ruled double. The shot scored Ryan from second, after she took an extra base on a passed ball during Morgan’s at bat.
Senior Cassie Tysarczyk joined Morgan on the base paths when she drew the Aggies’ second walk of the inning. A three-run, two-out bomb over left field by senior Taran Tyler shoved Texas A&M out to a four-run lead over the Matadors.
Ryan added a fifth run to the Aggies’ tally when her RBI single down the left-field line with two outs in the second sent senior Emily Albus home for the 5-0 lead. Tysarczyk added an infield hit that forced the CSUN second baseman to dive and try to make a play at first. Ryan sped to third on the hit, and advanced home on the throw for the 6-0 advantage.
The Aggies loaded the bases in the bottom of the third on a base hit by sophomore Cali Lanphear, and walks from sophomore Breanna Dozier and freshman Abby Donnell. An RBI groundout by senior Jenna Stark sent the 7-0 run home. Dozier scored on a passed ball, and Donnell followed her home on a wild pitch. Both runs were unearned, but the Aggies claimed a 9-0 advantage on the Matadors.
Three walks loaded the bases for Texas A&M in the fourth, and a two-out fielding error send the 10-0 run home, unearned. Pinch hitting in the fifth, sophomore Alex Masek hit a two-RBI double through the left side for the Aggies’ final two runs of the game. The RBI were the first of Masek’s career.
The Matadors strung together a pair of hits in the top of the fifth, but were unable to score and the game ended in a five-inning run-rule win for the Aggies.
Marks (5-0) started the game in the circle for the Aggies and earned the win in a combined shutout with Ainsley and Davenport. Marks tossed three innings, allowing just one hit and one walk, while striking out one. Ainsley gave up just one hit and a walk in 1 1/3 innings of work, and Davenport threw 2/3 innings, allowing two hits.
CSUN starter Brianna Elder (5-3) took the loss after she allowed six earned runs on five hits and three walks through two innings in the circle.
The Aggies return to Texas and play a single game at Houston Wednesday before hosting the Texas A&M Invitational next weekend. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.
HEAD COACH JO EVANS
On the win…
“We needed that. I feel like we were in a position every single game to win, and to drop a couple is disappointing. I talked to our kids last night about how tomorrow should be a dominating performance. We feel like on paper we should win that game and win it handily. Not to take anything away from our opponent, but that’s the position we’re in with the kind of talent we have and I expected us to come out and play the way we did today.”
On Katie Marks’ performance in the circle…
“She played really sharp all weekend. She did a nice job of keeping the ball down and throwing ground balls and letting her defense do the work, so I’m really pleased with all of her performances this weekend. I thought she was really good and really sharp.”
On Taran Tyler’s home run…
“She did today what we expected to do all weekend, which was to drive the ball and not strand runners; to get up there in those key situations, two-out situations, and be able to drive the ball and she did that. She doesn’t look like she’d be a power hitter, but when her swing is on she’s feeling good and she’s got that good whip. That ball got out in a hurry.”