COLLEGE STATION, Texas – A two-RBI double by freshman Nicole Morgan and a home run by senior Rhi Kliesing gave No. 22 Texas A&M (32-11, 4-4 Big 12) a 3-0 shutout against No. 12 Nebraska (31-7, 3-4 Big 12) Saturday at the Aggie Softball Complex.
Unable to connect for a hit until the fourth, the Aggies took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the inning. Freshman Emily Albus entered to run at first after sophomore Mel Dumezich was hit in the foot by a pitch.
Freshman Amber Garza drew a walk before Morgan lasered a double to left field that hit the wall and bounced hard, plating two runs as the left fielder scrambled to field the double.
In the top of the fourth with two runners on base, Husker designated player Kylee Muir hit a pitch to Dumezich who quickly fielded the ball and tossed it to Garza. The third baseman forced the runner advancing from second out and powered a throw to Kliesing at first for the double play to end the half inning.
“I thought we just put together a really complete game,” head coach Jo Evans said. “Early on, they put together some ground balls. Rhi made some nice plays out there, Amber Garza makes a double play. I thought they were in it. It’s a game where we knew we had to win. Our backs are against the wall and I just liked the way we played the game. [Amber]‘s got a cannon. I’m just really pleased that we put it all together. We hit, we played defense and we pitched really well.”
Securing the lead in the bottom of the fifth, Kliesing sent a solo bomb over the fence in right field that didn’t land until it had reached the other side of Olsen Boulevard.
An efficient Aggie defense held runners on the bags and never allowed Nebraska to respond with a run of its own, as the game ended in a 14th shutout on the season for A&M.
Dumezich (18-7) earned her ninth solo shutout of the season with the win. The Whiting, Ind., native fanned eight batters and gave up five hits in the effort. Nebraska’s Ashley Hagemann (22-6) suffered the loss, striking out seven opponents while allowing three earned runs on four hits in six complete innings.
“[Mel] did terrific on the mound,” Evans said. “I loved the way she went at hitters. She’s not afraid to go at somebody, and look at how she played defense out there. You can look at how that kid plays and know that she’s going to win no matter what. She made plays that usually a shortstop is going to have to make and she goes after everything out there. I thought that her energy and her competitiveness really came through today and our kids fed off of that. She’s a leader on the field. There’s no doubt about that, and when our team will follow that, great things will happen.”