COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Junior Amber Garza hit two home runs, including a grand slam, as the No. 9 Texas A&M softball team (27-5) run-ruled Texas State (5-26), 9-1 in five innings in a Tuesday non-conference match-up at the Aggie Softball Complex.
Garza owned six of the Aggies’ eight RBI on the night, clearing the fence in the second and third innings. The third baseman entered the game with just three home runs and 13 RBI on the season.
The first of Garza’s long balls came in the bottom of the second inning with one runner on base. Junior Jenna Stark drew a walk and was sent home when Garza topped the wall in right-center field.
The power-hitter cleared the bases with another bomb in the bottom of the third for the 8-1 lead after Texas State scored its lone run on an RBI single.
In the bottom of the inning, junior Emily Albus led off, reaching on an error and stealing second before Senior Meagan May pushed her home on an RBI single. May advanced to second on the throw home and was joined on the bags by junior Nicole Morgan, who sped to first on an infield single.
With two outs, junior Jenna Stark sent a base hit to left field and picked up an RBI as May scored the 4-1 run. Another single, slapped high over the first baseman by freshman Cali Lanphear loaded the bases as Garza stepped up to the plate. Garza was 2-for-2 on the night with two runs scored and six RBI.
Leading 8-1 in the bottom of the fourth, Albus again led off, this time reaching on an infield single. The speedy junior was thrown out in the next at-bat as junior Cassie Tysarczyk reached on a fielder’s choice. A walk drawn by May put runners on first and second as junior Allison Garrett entered to pinch run for the senior catcher.
Tysarczyk and Garrett moved into scoring position on a passed ball before an illegal pitch sent Tysarczyk home for the unearned, 9-1 run.
Texas State had no answer for the diligent Aggie offense, earning just four hits on the day in the one-run effort.
Sophomore Lauren Ainsley (9-2) earned the win, allowing one earned run on four hits and one walk from the circle. Bobcat pitcher Rayn House (2-12) drew the loss, giving up two earned runs on four hits and one walk while striking out three in 3.1 innings of work.
The Aggies will return to Southeastern Conference play this weekend, hosting No. 4 Alabama in a three-game series starting Friday at 7 p.m. Central. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.
LSU Downs SE Lousiana
BATON ROUGE – Bianka Bell and Tammy Wray connected for their team-leading seventh home runs of the season as the No. 13 LSU softball team got back on the winning track and completed its 10-game homestand with a 5-1 victory over Southeastern Louisiana at Tiger Park.
LSU (28-6) won its ninth straight decision over the Lady Lions (18-11) dating back to the 2007 season. The Tigers also have won 14 of their last 17 outings since March 1.
Bell led the nine-hit attack with a 2-for-3 performance, two runs scored and two RBIs. Alayna Falcon also secured her first career hit in a pinch-hitting role.
Meghan Patterson tossed 6.2 frames of four-hit ball and recorded seven strikeouts against two walks to claim her fifth win of the season.
“We did a good job of scoring early,” head coach Beth Torina said. “Meghan Patterson did well. She kept them in check the entire game. I thought she was really solid. There was never a moment where we questioned her. We got a lot of people in the game tonight, and we got some opportunities for people. Seeing Alayna get her first hit was a lot of fun. It’s nice when all these girls who work so hard out here get some opportunities when they can.”
“The drop ball has definitely been looking good for me these past couple of games,” Patterson said. “Also, the curve ball was one of my go-to pitches tonight. I just stuck with my plan and made sure my pitches were moving.”
LSU raced out to a 3-0 advantage during the first inning. A.J. Andrews knocked a leadoff infield single, stole second base and scooted over to third on a Jacee Blades groundout. She crossed the plate with the game’s first run on a Bell infield single.
Sandra Simmons slapped an infield single of her own to extend her career-long hitting streak to six games. An error by the Southeastern second baseman enabled Bell to advance to third base, and she scored on Allison Falcon’s sacrifice fly to centerfield to make it 2-0.
Rikki Alcaraz belted a RBI double into the left centerfield to score Simmons and cap LSU’s three-run first inning. The Tigers improved to 14-0 and have outscored their opponents by a 41-8 margin during the first inning this season.
Wray opened the fourth inning with a solo shot that one-hopped over the left field berm, while Bell ripped one-out dinger to straight-away centerfield with one out during the fifth inning to extend the LSU lead to 5-0.
“They always have to have answer for each other, one homers then the next one does,” Torina said. “It is a lot of fun and definitely a game within the game. Those two just have so much power. It is great for them to do the things they are capable of doing.”
“It’s a good thing, we (Tammy and I) just make things happen for our team,” Bell said. “Good things are happening for both of us. To have someone to compete with is making me a better player. I am sure it is making her a better player as well.”
Southeastern Louisiana scored its lone run of the game in the seventh inning. With Bell making her Tiger debut in the circle, the Lady Lions took advantage of two walks, a hit batter and an infield single. Patterson reentered the game and recorded two strikeouts to secure the 5-1 win.
“Coming back in, I wasn’t nervous at all,” Patterson said. “I just focused on my pitches one at a time. I didn’t want to look at it as I had to go out there and strike them out. I just wanted to get the outs anyway I could – a little dribbler, a pop out or anything besides a hit in that situation.”
LSU hits the road to meet No. 25 South Alabama on Wednesday. First pitch is slated for 7 p.m., and the game will be carried online only for Geaux Zone subscribers at www.LSUsports.net/live.
Fans also can follow every pitch of LSU softball this season via live stats at www.LSUsports.net/livestats along with live in-game updates on LSU softball's social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball and @lsusoftball on Twitter.
Mississippi State Clipped by UAB
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – UAB (19-7) plated two runs in the bottom of the fifth and held off a scrappy late-inning effort from the Mississippi State softball team (20-10) as the Bulldogs fell by a narrow 2-1 margin Tuesday night at the UAB Softball Field. The loss snapped MSU’s 13-game non-conference winning streak, which tied for the third longest such streak in school history.
“Timely hitting is what it is all about, and UAB had some great timely hitting with two runs in the bottom of the fifth,” Head Coach Vann Stuedeman said. “We just fell a little bit short tonight.”
The junior trio of Sam Lenahan (1-for-3, RBI), Logan Foulks (1-for-2, walk) and Heidi Shape (1-for-3) collected the hits for the Maroon and White, while sophomore Swayze Hollenhead was responsible for the Bulldogs’ only run.
Earning the starting assignment, junior Alison Owen went 4.2 innings, falling to 10-4 on the year after giving up two runs on five hits and a walk. Senior southpaw Stephanie Becker closed out the game for MSU with 1.1 hitless innings. The Blazers’ Lannah Campbell (5-1) picked up the win with 10 strikeouts in a complete-game effort.
Deadlocked in a scoreless tie heading to the bottom of the fifth, the home team started a two-out rally when nine-hole hitter Amy Dennis singled to the gap in right field. Moving to the top of the Blazers’ lineup, Caitlin Attfield followed up with a single to put two on the bags. The Green and Gold broke the scoreless drought with an RBI single to center, and then added another run with an infield RBI single to the five-six hole by Whitney Fletcher.
The Bulldogs barked back in the top of the sixth, starting a two-out rally of their own. With two gone, Hollenhead pinch hit for senior Shelby Fisher and drew a four-pitch base on balls. Hollenhead scored all the way from first thanks to an RBI double down the right-field line courtesy of Lenahan. Lenahan was stranded in scoring position to end the inning when Foulks struck out looking.
“Swayze had an incredible pinch hit and Sam responded with a great barrel down the right-field line,” Stuedeman explained. “I loved the way we responded after UAB scored its first two runs.”
State had one last chance in the seventh when senior Jessica Cooley led off the final frame with a walk. The Birmingham, Ala., native sprinted to second on a groundout to the right side by Shape. With the tying run in scoring position, Campbell retired pinch hitter Briana Bell and sophomore third baseman Julia Echols to end the game.
Starkville's Team returns to SEC play this weekend for a three-game series against SEC West rival Auburn. The Tigers take on the Bulldogs Friday at 6 p.m., before wrapping up the series with a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday. Admission is free for those that can attend, but for those that cannot, live video and audio streaming of the series will be available online to HailStateTV subscribers (www.HailState.com/hstvlive).
For live in-game updates of MSU's weekend series, follow the program on Twitter at @MStateSB. For pictures, like the team on Facebook at Facebook.com/MStateSB and visit the team's Instagram account at MStateSB. For pregame and postgame video, check out MSU's official YouTube channel at YouTube.com/HailState.