The seventh-ranked Texas A&M softball team defeated Incarnate Word, 7-0 and 8-3, in a doubleheader Wednesday at the Aggie Softball Complex.
In game one, the Aggies took an early lead in the second as Sarah Hudek singled up the middle and was plated by a Samantha Show base hit to right. Kristen Cuyos reached base on a fielder’s choice followed by an infield single from Kelbi Fortenberry. Tori Vidales knocked both of them in on an infield single, giving Texas A&M a three-run lead.
The Maroon & White struck for three runs in the fourth when three-consecutive singles by Cuyos, Fortenberry and Keeli Milligan loaded the bases for Kaitlyn Alderink. The junior blasted a triple down the right field line to clear the bases and extend the Aggies’ lead to six.
In the fifth, Cuyos led off the inning with a four-pitch walk and came around to touch home on a double by Fortenberry to conclude scoring in game one.
Harrington remained hot in the circle as she only allowed four hits and walked one en route to her fourth shutout of the season. For the second game in a row, the senior recorded eight strikeouts, matching her season-high.
In the nightcap, the Maroon & White jumped on the Cardinals quickly as they posted a five-run first inning. After Milligan led off with an infield single and Alderink reached on a walk, Vidales laced a double to left field to score Milligan. Ashley Walters and Riley Sartain followed with back-to-back singles to plate Alderink and Vidales. For the final two runs of the first inning, Cuyos singled down the left field line to drive in Walters and Sartain.
In the next frame, Milligan blasted a triple in the gap and was knocked in by an Alderink single to left for her fourth RBI of the night.
UIW got on the board in the fifth inning when Emily Castro took a 2-1 offering over the centerfield wall for three runs.
The Aggies responded in the sixth with two insurance runs. Milligan added to her 6-for-7 night with another infield single and stole second for her fourth stolen base of the night. Gabby Moreno hit a shot down the right field line, recording the first double of her career. Payton McBride’s perfectly executed bunt earned her a hit and RBI as it scored Milligan and Kylie George’s first career RBI came on a fielder’s choice to score Moreno.
Maddie MacGrandle earned the start and the win for the Aggies and recorded five strikeouts while walking five and allowing three runs on two hits in 4.1 innings of work. McBride earned the save as she tossed 2.2 innings in relief while fanning four and not giving up any hits, runs or walks.
Top Offensive Players:
Keeli Milligan | 6-for-7, 3B, 4 R, 4 SB
Ashley Walters | 3-for-6, HR, 4 RBI
Kaitlyn Alderink | 3-for-4, 3B, 4 RBI, R, BB
Tori Vidales | 3-for-6, 3 RBI, 2B, R
Trinity Harrington (6-1, 0.97 ERA) – W, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 8 K, 1 BB
Maddie McGrandle (5-0, 1.71 ERA) – W, 4.1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 5 K, 5 BB
Payton McBride (1-0, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA) – S, 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 4 K, 0 BB
· Trinity Harrington tied her season-high strikeouts with eight
· Tori Vidales needs two RBI to break the record for career RBI
· Abby Smith earned her first career start at catcher
· Ashley Walters passed Selena Collins for ninth in career RBI all-time with 142
· Kylie George recorded her first career at bat and RBI
· Gabby Moreno hit the first double of her career
WHAT THEY SAID
Texas A&M Head Coach Jo Evans
On the doubleheader wins…
“It is nice to come here and finish non-conference out with a couple more wins and get a lot of people in to give them a chance to get out there and show us what they can do. It is important to us that the younger people feel prepared because you never know what is going to happen down the stretch. You can have an injury or illness, so we want to make sure that those people are prepared. I am happy to be able to get those kids in. The biggest thing for me is that they have a lot to learn. They have to be ready when their opportunity comes because that is their chance to shine. They understand that they can get better.”
On preparing for SEC competition…
“You always want to feel good about yourself when you open up conference play. I think we’ve got a lot of tools and weapons out there. We have an older and experienced team, so they know what it is like to play in the SEC. They understand how challenging it is. What I want to make sure of is that we keep playing the game and that we don’t all of a sudden think the game is going to be harder or that we need to do something differently. We just need to keep doing what we are doing and understand that we are going to be challenged. If you think you have to change your game just because you are starting SEC then that’s not a good place to be in. I look forward to us just getting out there and the pitchers attacking the strike zone and hitters looking for something to drive.”
On Trinity Harrington…
“She looked really good. She is running on all cylinders. I know I keep saying that, but she just is. Her mechanics look good and so does her rhythm and timing. Her confidence is at a high level.”
On Payton McBride…
“She went out there and did exactly what we asked her to do. We always say to the relievers that it’s your job to shut it down. Your job is not to go out there and get comfortable and then see how things go. Your job from the very first pitch is to shut the other team down and throw strikes. Payton I thought did that as well as anybody has all year.”
On Keeli Milligan…
“It was nice to be able to get her in motion and get a bunch of stolen bases. She is just so quick. She was just getting on base and making us go. We needed some runs in the last inning (of the second game). I didn’t feel comfortable with a three-run lead, but Keeli went up there and got herself on, stole a base, and then gave herself a chance to score.”
The Aggies return to action Friday at 6 p.m. as they open SEC play against No. 17 Ole Miss at the Aggie Softball Complex.
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