COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The 13th-ranked Texas A&M softball team run-ruled No. 15 Missouri 11-2 in five innings, Saturday in the second game of a three-game Southeastern Conference series at the Aggie Softball Complex. The Aggies (18-5, 1-1 SEC) evened the series count at 1-1 with the win over the Tigers (13-4, 1-1 SEC).
Seniors Cassie Tysarczyk and Nicole Morgan each had home runs on the day. The sluggers were each 1-for-2 at the plate with two runs scored, and Morgan added a walk and three RBI. Senior Emily Albus also scored two runs, going 1-for-3 with two RBI.
Missouri loaded the bases in the top of the first with one out, but a double play by freshman April Ryan shut down the half-inning before the Tigers could do any damage.
The Aggies also loaded the bases in the first and were sharp at the plate from the beginning, using four walks, a hit by pitch and an error to their advantage for a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
A bases-loaded walk by senior Amber Garza started the early advantage as Albus scored with one out on the board. Albus reached base on a fielding error, making all four of the Aggies’ first-inning runs unearned.
A sacrifice fly-out by senior Taran Tyler sent the 2-0 run home before a fourth walk of the inning, by sophomore Breanna Dozier, loaded the bases for the third time of the half-inning. Sophomore Cali Lanphear singled through the right side to send a third run home, and a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch by senior Jenna Stark added the fourth run of the inning for Texas A&M.
Missouri cut the Aggies’ lead in half in the top of the second with a two-run blast over centerfield, but the pair of runs was all the Tigers would produce through the five-inning game.
Tysarczyk’s bomb dropped in the bottom of the second inning. The solo shot topped the wall in right-centerfield and gave Texas A&M a 5-2 lead.
Morgan’s home run came in the next inning, after the Aggies scored three more runs on the Tigers. Tyler led off with a double up the middle and was joined on base by Dozier, who drew her second walk of the game, and Stark, who added her second hit-by-pitch to load the bases.
Albus hammered a pitch to left field for a two-RBI double that scored Tyler and Dozier, and a shot through the left side by Ryan sent Stark home for the 8-2 advantage. With Albus and Ryan in scoring position, Morgan needed no wind to her advantage. Her long ball flew over right-centerfield and hit the top half of the scoreboard as three runs were added to Texas A&M’s tally for an 11-2 lead.
Just one Missouri runner reached base through the final three innings of the run-rule, and the Aggies evened the SEC series with the convincing win over the Tigers.
Sophomore pitcher Katie Marks (9-0) continues her unbeaten streak in the circle, throwing five complete frames for the win. Marks gave up two earned runs on six hits and a walk, while fanning four batters. Missouri’s Casey Stangel (6-2) suffered the loss after allowing seven earned runs on six hits and six walks. She tossed two strikeouts through four innings of work.
The Aggies and Tigers close out the three-game SEC series Sunday at noon at the Aggie Softball Complex. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.
HEAD COACH JO EVANS
On the game overall…
“The difference in the ballgame is that both teams had bases loaded in the first inning, and our team managed to find a way to capitalize and get the four runs. April Ryan was really heady turning the double play. That, to me, set the tone for it. They got a couple of little cheap hits in the first inning. There’s nothing you can do about it, and Katie [Marks] didn’t panic. She just went out there and threw her ground balls.”
On Marks’ performance in the circle after allowing a two-run home run…
“I said something to her. ‘Don’t you dare be timid out there. You need to go right at them.’ I just wanted to see her bow up, and she did that. I saw her in the first inning, and even the second a little bit, questioning herself. And she just settled in right there and got after it. We have to keep the ball in the yard. Our pitchers have got to keep the ball in the yard, but aside from that one mistake she really looked good, looked comfortable. If she can throw us ground balls, we’ll make plays out there.”
On successful hitters drawing walks…
“They’re being unselfish. Sometimes in that situation they want to be the one hitting one out, because all three of those kids – [Nicole] Morgan, [Cassie] Tysarczyk and [Amber] Garza – can hit a long ball at any given time. For them to be selfless and take their walks because they know someone else can hit them in is really key. What I think is also key is Taran Tyler behind them, because our kids trust that she can get up there and get her job done. She’s done a nice job in that six hole for us. Emily Albus is a catalyst for us. She gets up there and just gets herself on right away. We hit through the lineup in the first inning, we hit through the lineup in the third inning, and our kids got a lot of really good looks. Something I thought we were a lot better about today, which was the huge difference for us offensively, was our discipline at the plate. And we didn’t change our plan. We didn’t get out of our approach at the plate. I thought that was a big difference for us as well.”