COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 15 Texas A&M softball team (23-9, 4-5 SEC) fell, 4-2 to 14th-ranked Georgia (28-3, 5-1 SEC) on Sunday as the Bulldogs took a 2-1 series victory in the Southeastern Conference series finale between the two teams.
Junior Brittany Clopton and senior Cassie Tysarczyk each had a pair of hits, with Clopton scoring two runs and Tysarczyk picking up an RBI, to lead the team offensively. Senior Emily Albus had the Aggies’ only other hit as the team struggled to produce at the plate.
Georgia also had a slow day at the dish, with just six hits through seven complete innings. The Bulldogs had two solo home runs, however, and plated two more runs on a double to left field in the sixth to take the series win.
With gusting winds plaguing routine fly balls throughout the game, UGA loaded the bases in the first inning. The stingy Aggie defense held all three in place through two outs, however, and ended the inning unscathed.
Tysarczyk reached base with her first hit of the day to lead off in the bottom of the second, but she was stranded after three straight outs.
The Bulldogs’ first solo blast of the day came in the first at bat of the third inning to give Georgia a 1-0 lead.
Texas A&M answered with its first run of the day in the bottom of the fourth. Clopton chipped a shot into left field to reach base and sped to second as the left fielder struggled to handle the ball. A wild pitch moved Clopton to third before the bases were loaded on a base hit by Tysarczyk and a hit-by-pitch by senior Amber Garza. A throwing error on a fielder’s choice in the next at bat allowed Clopton to score, unearned, to tie the game at 1-1.
UGA quickly regained the lead in the top of the fifth with a first-pitch shot over right field for the 2-1 advantage.
Albus’ hit, a laser up the middle, came in the bottom of the inning. The senior was caught stealing for just the second time this season, though, and the Aggies continued to trail by a run.
The Aggies’ deficit stretched to three runs in the top of the sixth when a one-out double to left plated two runs for the Bulldogs. The bases were loaded in time for the double, after a pair of walks and an infield single.
Trailing 4-1, Texas A&M answered with its final run of the day in the bottom of the sixth. Clopton hit her first triple of the year, just her second extra-base hit of the season, to left field to lead off. Senior Nicole Morgan battled through a 16-pitch at bat, attempting to send Clopton home but ultimately struck out for the first out of the inning.
Tysarczyk did the trick in the next at bat, though flying out to right field and picking up a sacrifice as Clopton flew home for her second run of the day. Garza drew a four-pitch walk to reach, but was left on base.
Both teams retired in order in the seventh and Georgia took a 2-1 series victory with the 4-2 win in game three.
Sophomore Katie Marks (11-1) took the loss, allowing three earned runs on five hits and three walks while hurling five strikeouts through five complete innings. Freshman Abby Donnell threw two innings of relief for no decision, giving up one run on one hit and two walks, and striking out one. UGA’s Chelsea Wilkinson (16-2) tossed seven complete frames, giving up one earned run on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
The Aggies are back in action next weekend when they start a seven-game road swing with an SEC series at Arkansas. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.
HEAD COACH JO EVANS
On the loss…
“They get two solo shots, and they hit them both well out. There’s no doubt about it. I thought our team fought hard to come back. The difference in the game is giving up three free passes, and they get a timely hit. You don’t see a lot of difference in the hit column. They get six, we get five. The difference is the free passes in the sixth inning, for sure.”
On leaving runners on base…
“When you’re facing a good pitcher like Wilkinson, you’ve got to take advantage of your opportunities when you get them, especially when you’ve got no outs and you’re loading bases and making things happen for yourself. We fight, but we need to figure out a way to finish. We need to figure out how to take over a game and really stay in it until the end. We battled in some at bats in the end, but I thought they were more defensive at bats than they were offensive. You can foul off a bunch of pitches, but if you don’t look like you’re going to be able to square it up and drive the ball, it’s not a lot of help. It’s really important for us to make better adjustments at the plate. I thought we were ahead of the ball all day, and we just really didn’t take what they gave us. I thought Clopton did a great job today. She definitely took what they gave her. They obviously changed their defensive scheme there on our two lefties and they did a pretty good job of making an adjustment on it. Both of them [Albus and Clopton] ended up getting a hit and Clopton got a couple of hits.”