Texas A&M races past No. 3 Texas
Aggies tie school record with 20th consecutive home win
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- No. 22 Texas A&M tied its home winning streak at 20 consecutive games as the Aggies upset third-ranked Texas with a 5-1 win Wednesday in front of a sold-out crowd at the Aggie Softball Complex.
"I'm proud of my kids," head coach Jo Evans said. "I thought we played really well tonight and were really relaxed. I thought at the plate we did a good job hitting the pitches we wanted to hit. We made her throw strikes for the most part. We had two strikeouts with runners in scoring position, but you could see that our kids never let it get to them. We took our walks and got some big hits."
A&M (37-13, 9-5 Big 12) was quick to stop Texas' offensive pursuit after a run in the top of the first put the Longhorns (44-6, 13-2 Big 12) up by one. Shortstop Taylor Thom lasered a double down the right field line that scored center fielder Brejae Washington from second.
Senior Kelsey Spittler opened the bottom of the second frame with a single through the right side before moving to third on a base hit to left-center by sophomore Mel Dumezich. Dumezich advanced to second on the throw from the outfield before a shot through the left side by redshirt junior Natalie Villarreal scored the pair for the one-run lead.
In the top of the third, Longhorn right fielder Taylor Hoagland reached first on a ball four and stole Texas' 107th base of the season to tie the program record. She took third on a passed ball but was unable to even the score as the Aggie defense shut down the side.
In the bottom of the inning senior Rhi Kliesing drew a leadoff walk and was replaced by senior Andrea Tovar at first. Tovar flew to third on a throwing error by the third baseman as Spittler reached on a fielder's choice. The left fielder stole second but both runners were left stranded as the inning ended. A double to right-center by sophomore Brittany Walker in the bottom of the fourth looked promising for another A&M run, but the shortstop was also stuck on base after the third out. The Aggies stranded 11 runners on the night, while Texas left seven on base.
Sophomore designated player Meagan May led off in the bottom of the fifth with a walk and left the field as junior Kelsea Orsak came in to run. With one out, freshman Amber Garza powered a bomb over the left field wall that plated Orsak as the third baseman picked up two RBIs and pushed the lead to 4-1.
"[Amber] has been hitting nails for us all year and playing great defense at third base," Evans said. "I love the way those freshmen handled it. [Nicole Morgan] did a really good job behind the plate. She called a good game and really kept Mel settled in and she ended up getting a hit. All through the lineup our kids are really taking what they can get. I thought our players were really smart at the plate."
The Aggies' final run of the night came in the bottom of the sixth on a foul sacrifice fly by Spittler. Freshman Cassie Tysarczyk took first on a walk and was sent to second on a single through the left side by Kliesing. May reached on a fielding error at short before Spittler's foul ball went deep towards left field, giving Tysarczyk enough time to tag third and run home to beat the throw.
Dumezich (23-8, 8-4 Big 12) picked up her eighth conference win of the season with the victory in front of 1,765 fans as she fanned seven batters and allowed only one earned run on four hits in seven complete innings. Texas ace Blair Luna (26-4, 10-2 Big 12) was pulled from the game early for the second consecutive time against the Aggies after giving up four earned runs on six hits in 4.1 innings. The hurler picked up the loss after striking out eight batters and walking four.