LOS ANGELES, Calif. -
The No. 17 Texas A&M softball team (4-0) battled through a late scoring
surge by the Bruins to defeat 19th-ranked host school UCLA (3-1),
7-6 in extra innings, Sunday in the final day of Stacy Winsberg Memorial
tournament at Easton Stadium.
The Aggies stranded 12 runners through the game but held 11
Bruins on the paths for the eight-inning win. Senior Meagan May and freshman
Cali Lanphear each had 3-for-5 efforts on the day to defeat the 12-time
Junior Nicole Morgan, who entered the game with an already
impressive 2013 résumé that included a .667 average and six hits including a
grand slam and two other home runs, started the A&M scoring with a two-out
bomb over left in the top of the first.
The Aggies abandoned a bases-loaded effort in the top of the
second, unable to send a run across the plate. Lanphear hammered a base hit to
the shortstop to lead off in the second and was thrown out when junior Jenna
Stark reached on a fielder's choice. Singles from junior Amber Garza and
sophomore Brittany Clopton juiced the bags before a pair of strikeouts ended
The A&M defense struggled in the bottom of the inning,
letting two base hits put runners on first and second before senior hurler Mel
Dumezich worked through an at-bat to catch a hitter swinging to end the inning.
Dumezich carried the momentum into the top of the third,
sending a ball through the left side for a base hit. The Whiting, Ind., native
was tossed out at second as junior Cassie Tysarczyk took first on a fielder's
choice. With two outs and a runner on base, Lanphear showed her strong swing as
she sailed a home run over the fence in right-center that gave the Aggies a 3-0
jump. The long ball was the team's ninth of the season through four games.
The Aggies continued to work themselves out of defensive
jams with Dumezich leading the way. The right-hander threw strikeouts with
runners in scoring position in the second, third and fourth innings to hold
onto shutout innings.
A&M left the bases loaded again in the top of the fifth.
May led off with a hard-hit double to left-center field and was replaced on the
base paths by junior Allison Garrett. Garrett moved to second when Morgan
reached on a fielding error at first and a Tysarczyk walk loaded the bags but
two straight outs ended the half-inning.
After a quick out in the bottom of the fifth, a fielding
error put a Bruins runner on first. UCLA right fielder B.B. Bates hammered a
pitch to left-center field that would have surely been a double, but Aggie left
fielder Clopton sprinted over and caught the ball backhanded in midair for the
out and the inning ended with the same 3-0 A&M lead.
With two outs in the top of the sixth, junior Emily Albus
slapped an infield single to reach. May hit a ball on the screws and put it on
the line in left to reach before advancing on the throw to place runners at
second and third. An intentional walk to Morgan loaded the bases but a line
drive to the third baseman ended the half-inning in a stalemate and with
A&M bases loaded for the third time.
A single and a two-out walk in the bottom of the sixth put
Bruins on first and second. A batted ball was bobbled at short and overthrown
at first before rolling out of play and sending two runs home to narrow the
score to a 3-2 A&M lead.
Looking to get the Aggies back into a comfortable lead,
Tysarczyk worked to a full count before bludgeoning a pitch and sending it over
dead-center field for a 4-2 home run. Lanphear stepped up in the next at-bat
and followed suit, easily topping the wall in right-center and chasing the
Bruins' starting pitcher.
UCLA mounted a major comeback in the bottom of the inning on
a pair of home runs that tied the game at 5-5 with two outs. Dumezich fanned
two batters and let one on base with a single to right before a single through
the left side put a runner in scoring position.
The game entered extra innings and the international
tiebreaker rule put Clopton at second to run. An Albus sacrifice bunt moved the
runner to second before May went yard over center for her third hit of the day
and the Aggies' fifth homer of the day, bringing A&M back into a 7-5 lead.
The Bruins scored one on an error and a sacrifice fly out in
the bottom of the eighth, but the Aggies shut the game down with a 7-6
Dumezich (3-0) earned the win after throwing 10 strikeouts
through seven innings. She gave up three earned runs on nine hits and three
walks. Sophomore Lauren Ainsley threw one inning of relief for the save,
allowing one unearned run on no hits and no walks.
UCLA reliever Jessica Hall (1-0) took the loss, giving up
one earned run on one hit and one walk while striking out one.
The Aggies went 4-0 on opening weekend and return to Texas
for a Wednesday game at Sam Houston State before hosting the Aggie Classic Feb.
15-17 at the Aggie Softball Stadium. To learn more about Texas A&M
softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.