COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Sophomore Katie Marks threw the first no-hitter of her career as the 24th-ranked Texas A&M softball team (33-20) swept a nonconference doubleheader against Lamar (20-27), Wednesday at the Aggie Softball Complex. The Aggies picked up an 8-0, five-inning run-rule win in game one before topping the Lady Cardinals, 6-1, in game two.
Marks’ no-hitter came in game one’s five-inning run-rule, nearly a perfect game for the sophomore transfer. Marks’ only blemish was a third-inning hit-by-pitch as she tossed four strikeouts through the shortened game to improve to 14-5 on the season.
The Aggies took an early lead in game one, scoring five runs in the bottom of the first inning. Texas A&M hit through the lineup, picking up five hits and taking advantage of a Lamar error. Senior Amber Garza started the action with a first-pitch, one-out double to centerfield. An error sent her to second before she flew home on a double steal for the 1-0 lead.
Senior Jenna Stark plated two runs on a triple to centerfield, and seniors Taran Tyler and Emily Albus each had RBI singles. Senior Nicole Morgan contributed an infield hit, and freshmen Reagan Boenker and April Ryan each drew walks.
A pair of doubles in the bottom of the third inning by Tyler and Garza stretched the Texas A&M lead to 6-0 when Tyler scored on Garza’s two-out shot to left-centerfield.
Morgan and Stark added back-to-back solo home runs in the bottom of the fourth to complete the Aggies’ eight-run outing. Morgan led off in the half-inning with a blast over right field, and Stark followed suit in the next at-bat with a bomb to the net in left.
Morgan was perfect at the plate in game one, going 3-for-3 with two runs scored and one RBI. Stark went 2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored, and Garza was also 2-for-3, scoring one run and plating one.
The Lady Cardinals were unable to break through Marks’ spectacular performance in the circle and surrendered 15 of 16 batters on the game. Lamar starter Tina Schulz (9-13) suffered the loss, allowing three earned runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out one in three innings in the circle.
Texas A&M wasted no time getting on the board in game two, taking a 4-0 lead after the second inning. Morgan led off with her third infield hit of the day in the bottom of the second and moved to second on a no-choice fielder’s choice by Stark. Morgan finished the day at 5-for-6 with three runs scored.
A sacrifice bunt from Boenker, who ended the top of the first inning with a double play, sent both runners into scoring position. With runners at second and third, Ryan turned on a pitch and sent it into left field for a two-RBI double as both Morgan and Stark scored on the play. Ryan was 3-for-3 on the game with three consecutive doubles, two runs scored and two RBI.
Junior Brittany Clopton kept the action going with an infield single, then took second when no Lamar fielders covered first base. The LU shortstop attempted to toss Clopton out at second but overthrew the bag, allowing both Clopton and Tyler to score on the error for the third and fourth runs of the day. Clopton was 2-for-2 on the game with two runs scored.
Texas A&M scored two more runs in the bottom of the fourth to stretch the lead to 6-0. Ryan and Clopton pounded back-to-back doubles before an infield single from Tyler sent Ryan home for the first run of the half-inning. A sacrifice fly out to left field from Garza plated Clopton for her second run of the game.
Lamar had more success at the plate in game two, collecting four hits and drawing four walks. The Lady Cards plated their only run of the day in the top of the sixth on a bases-loaded error to narrow the Aggie lead to 6-1.
The Aggies put runners in scoring position in the bottom of the sixth, but a double play ended the half-inning. The Lady Cards drew a two-out walk to reach base in the seventh, but the runner was tossed out on a fielder’s choice to end the game with a second Texas A&M win.
Texas A&M sophomore Lauren Ainsley (2-1) started game two and tossed four complete innings for the win, allowing just two hits and one walk. Freshman Abby Donnell picked up her sixth save of the season after giving up one unearned run on two hits and three walks through three frames.
Lamar’s Lauren Dannelley (3-2) pitched a complete game, allowing four earned runs on 10 hits and a walk for the loss.
The Aggies close out the regular season this weekend at home against former Big 12 foe Oklahoma State. Texas A&M and OSU will play a two-game series, Friday at 7 p.m. CT and Saturday at 4 p.m. CT. Saturday will be the Aggies’ Senior Day, honoring eight players in the final regular-season game of their illustrious careers.
To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.
HEAD COACH JO EVANS
On the sweep…
“It feels good to have our pitchers go out there and take care of business. In particular, I thought Katie Marks was really good and Lauren Ainsley as well. Our defense, I thought, played really well behind both of those. I wasn’t pleased with our defense at the end giving up a couple of errors. That doesn’t make me happy, but all-in-all I thought it was a good day for us. We needed our pitchers to come out feeling good about themselves and have a good outing and they did. Our offense started out really aggressive. Garza gets up there and knocks the double and we hit around the order in that first inning of the first game. It’s nice to see our kids swinging like that.”
On Katie Marks’ no-hitter…
“I thought she was really good tonight. She really had a lot of confidence in her pitches. That’s how she can throw. I don’t care who we’re playing, she threw a really good game. Nobody hit the ball hard against her and I thought she played good defense on the mound for herself as well. It’s nice to see her be totally committed to the pitch she’s throwing and dig in there and get it done.”
On April Ryan’s three-double performance in game two…
“She’s just such a heady base runner. She’s one of our best base runners. She always sees an opening when it’s there and she takes it. She’s not afraid to be aggressive. She knows she can make second base. Twice there were just a great hustle on her part to get her in scoring position for us. I thought she also had a couple of nice plays over there at second. She’s playing really well. I think she’s feeling good about herself and it’s nice to see her back in her groove.”
On power hitting from Jenna Stark and Nicole Morgan…
“We haven’t had back-to-back home runs in a while this season. What I love is that [Nicole] went the opposite way. It’s nice to see her hit for power that way. She gets thrown outside a bunch and she just got all of that. And then Jenna got all of hers. She turned on it and hit it over the left-field wall. I like seeing them be aggressive. I can see Nic being more aggressive early in the count and getting hitters’ counts. I like to see that because that kid, when she gets on a roll, is just dangerous. She’s doing a good job.”