COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 13 Texas A&M softball team (16-4) ended the second day of the Texas A&M Invitational with a 6-1 win over Connecticut (1-8). Earlier in the day, the Aggies defeated Wisconsin as Head Coach Jo Evans earned the 1,000th victory of her career as an NCAA Division I skipper to become the only active Southeastern Conference coach to do so.
Senior Nicole Morgan was 1-for-2 on the day, but reached base in seven of eight plate appearances as she drew six walks and added a base hit. Morgan collected her seventh pickoff of the season and third of the weekend against the Huskies, continuing to lead the SEC from behind the plate.
Aggie sophomore transfer Katie Marks (7-0) tossed six innings for the win, with five shutout frames heading into the sixth. The only run of the night for the Huskies came from a sixth-inning solo home run over left field. Marks allowed just three hits while walking one batter and fanning one. Freshman Abby Donnell closed the game, throwing one strikeout.
Texas A&M took an early lead with a first-inning double to left field by senior Cassie Tysarczyk that plated a pair of runs for the 2-0 advantage. Morgan and freshman April Ryan scored on the play, after reaching on a walk and an infield single, respectively.
Ryan also had a two-RBI double, sending a ball to left-centerfield in the bottom of the second for a 4-0 lead on the Huskies. The rookie was 2-for-4 on the game with a pair of runs and two RBI.
Senior Jenna Stark reached on the first extra-base hit of the inning, a double to right-center, before scoring on the play. Sophomore Breanna Dozier drew a walk and scored on Ryan’s shot.
Tysarczyk added her third and fourth RBI of the game in the sixth when her home run over left field avenged the Huskies’ solo blast in the top of the inning.
Senior Amber Garza reached base three times against UConn, going 2-for-4 with a base hit and a double. Senior Emily Albus was also 2-for-4 and reached three times on the game. Stark reached two of three times, hitting a double and getting hit by a pitch.
UConn pitcher Lauren Duggan (1-7) threw a complete game for the loss, allowing six earned runs on 10 hits and four walks, while striking out two.
Originally scheduled for 12:15 p.m. Sunday, the Aggies will face Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 11:15 a.m. CT, due to inclement weather predicted Sunday afternoon. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.
HEAD COACH JO EVANS
On the 1000th career win in game one vs. Wisconsin…
“I thought our team played really well. It’s fun to get it on a game where it’s a quality opponent, and it’s a tough game and a challenging situation. That’s just a more fun way to play the game every day. I thought our kids played really well. I was proud of them. They defensively did a good job taking care of the ball, and with pitching Rachel Fox comes out there and shuts them down and Abby Donnell comes in and gets a couple of good innings there. In particular, I thought we did a nice job of extending at bats. We fouled some pitches off and we got ourselves to get in there and dig in and get some big hits. I thought it was a really great team effort. It was fun to have that happen here. This is obviously a special place, and I tell people that I’ve fallen in love with Texas A&M. I consider myself very fortunate to be at the helm of this program. It’s a special place to be. It’s really fun to do it with this ball club. It’s a ball club that I really enjoy coaching – I’m really fond of them and have great affection for them. It’s nice for us to get in the trenches together and get that done.”
On the team wanting to give Evans her 1000th win at home…
“That senior class is a special class. I know they want to do a great job for me and for our program and for all of Aggieland. You can see it. They wear it. I’m really proud of them, and proud to be their coach.”
On the team waiting on pitches and taking walks…
“I thought we showed good patience. Pitch selection is so key. Even with Taran Tyler, where she struggled a little bit, I just told her, ‘Your pitch selection is off. You’re being too aggressive.’ She settles in and starts to drive the ball, and Amber Garza does the same. I like the way our kids are swinging the bat. It’s a potent offense. It’s a fun offense to watch and I like that we took care of business. When [the Huskies] go out there and score a run, that could have gotten a little hairy there at the end with only a three-run lead, and instead our kids step up. Cassie gets home run and then Abby Donnell goes out there and shuts it down.”
On Cassie Tysarczyk’s performance on the day…
“She had a great day. She did such a good job. She’s one in particular I’m thinking about who is extending at bats, and getting rid of pitches that are marginal. Not swinging at a bad pitch, but getting rid of it - hitting it foul and giving herself a chance to dig in and hit the ball. She did a great job going the other way tonight. She’s locked in. She looks so great at the plate and that’s good because we need somebody who feels good hitting behind [Nicole Morgan]. Nic is not getting a lot of pitches to hit, and Cassie went up and took advantage of her opportunities. Cassie did a great job with her two-strike hitting and also scoring on two outs.”
On Katie Marks’ outing in the circle…
“That was huge, Nic picking that kid off at second base. They had the hitter up that they wanted. That kid hit a home run against us last night and hit a couple in previous games here. And Nic – talk about breaking people’s backs – she’s incredible back there. She has a great arm and I’m still surprised that people are getting picked off. I’m surprised that they’re even leading off on her. It was nice to see Katie bear down and relax. I thought she got a little ahead of herself in that first inning. She gave up a couple of hits and you could see her speed up the game, and she needed to take a breath and calm herself down. It was nice to see our defense get her out of that, and then she got our defense out of a couple of jams too. There’s always a give-and-take and I think our pitching staff is doing a nice job.”