COLLEGE STATION, Texas- Amanda Scarborough threw her 10th shutout of the season and Jami Lobpries drove in three RBIs as the 7th-ranked Texas A&M softball team (46-12) advanced to the NCAA Women's College World Series with a 2-0 win over the Florida Gators (50-22) Saturday evening at the Aggie Softball Complex.
After a two-hour rain delay, Florida evened the best-of-three series in Saturday’s first game as Lauren Roussell hit a solo walk-off homerun in the bottom of the seventh to beat A&M 3-2. Both of the Aggies’ runs came in the first inning off a double by Lobpries into the right-centerfield gap.
“I thought our kids played really well today,” A&M head coach Jo Evans said. “I felt like we got out on our heels just a little bit in the first game. It was certainly disappointing to lose that first game. We just regrouped and I just reminded our team of how great we are after a loss and that our longest losing streak of the season was two games. That wasn’t going to happen today.”
The Aggies came back with a vengeance in Saturday’s second game scoring early, yet again. With one out in the home-half of the first, Jamie Hinshaw drew a walk and moved to third on a single by Megan Gibson into right-centerfield. Lobpries, who logged both of A&M’s RBIs in game one, sent a shot back at starting pitcher, Stacey Stevens to score Hinshaw for her third RBI of the day.
Freshman Alex Reynolds was clutch in the fifth, lining a single into left-centerfield to drive in Gibson who started the inning with a double into rightfield. The run would serve as Reynolds’ 10th two-out RBI of the season and the Aggies’ second of the game.
Gibson was 3-for-3 at the plate with a run scored in the nightcap. She was 3-for-5 on the day, drawing a walk and was hit by a pitch.
Scarborough (26-8) suffered the loss in game one after entering in relief of Gibson in the fifth, but came back to earn the victory in game two, leading the Aggies to their seventh NCAA Women’s College World Series appearance, first since 1988.
“I thought Scarborough did a great job today and I thought Gibson did a good job, as well, to give us the innings she gave us in the first game,” Evans said. “Scarborough made big outs when she needed to. She kept the ball down so they hit a lot of ground balls.
“I thought she kept their hitters pretty frustrated. I like that she didn’t worry about the homerun. She’s given up so few homeruns on the season. That’s going to happen occasionally. She certainly didn’t let it get her down. I just liked her poise and her presence on the mound.”
Stevens (16-8) recorded the loss for Florida in the second game; she worked just 2.1 innings allowing one run on five hits. She walked one and struck out three. Stacey Nelson (34-14), the winning pitcher in game one worked 3.2 innings in relief allowing a run of her own on three hits and a walk. Nelson struck out four.
A&M will face Tennessee in the opening round of play on Thursday. The Lady Vols defeated Hawaii in the Knoxville Super Regional on Saturday to earn their bid to Oklahoma City.
Log on to AggieAthletics.com for the most current information regarding the Aggies’ trip to the WCWS.
Texas A&M Head Coach Jo Evans
“I thought our kids played really well today. I thought in the first game, I felt like we got out on our heels just a little bit and it’s certainly disappointing to lose the first game. We just regrouped and I just reminded our team of how great we are after a loss and that our longest losing streak of the season was two games. That wasn’t going to happen today. No one was going to come onto our field, in our house, and beat us twice. I’m just very proud of the way our kids came out in the second game. I thought they played a lot looser. I thought they were really focused but they were out there having a good time.”
On the team’s pitching…
“I thought Scarborough did a great job today and I thought Gibson did a good job as well to give us the innings she gave us in the first game. Scarborough made big outs when she needed to. She kept the ball down so they hit a lot of ground balls. I thought she kept their hitters pretty frustrated. I like that she didn’t worry about the homerun. She’s given up so few homeruns on the season. That’s going to happen occasionally. She certainly didn’t let it get her down. I just liked her poise and her presence on the mound.”
“We set the table a lot today. We got runners in scoring position, didn’t always get a timely hit, but how huge was it that Alex Reynolds steps up there and gets the RBI after she had really struggled today. That just shows the kind of fight our team has.”
Junior Amanda Scarborough
On how it feels to be going to the College World Series…
“I can’t describe the feeling. It’s just something that I’ve never felt before. Yeah, you’ve won a conference game or a tournament in preseason but it’s absolutely nothing compared to what it feels like right now. Every thing you put in every minute of practice, every cut that you’ve stayed after or did during practice means so much right now. It was actually worth going to the World Series.”
On Patti Wunderlich throwing out Ashley Harris at second (5th inning)…
“They had been being really aggressive on the first pitch and wanting to steal so I said, ‘Patti, I’m going to do a pitch-out. You just stand up and catch it and you get her out at second.’ So we did a pitch-out, sure enough they went. Patti had an amazing throw and I think that was probably one of the biggest outs of the game for us.”
On playing at home and the crowd…
“I don’t think you could ask more of the people who showed up. Our game was delayed for two hours but still we get an amazing crowd who is in every pitch with us.”
Junior Megan Gibson
On how it feels to be going to the College World Series…
It’s so surreal. I feel like it hasn’t even hit me yet. Like Amanda said, everything you’ve worked for, it’s right in front of us. I just talked to one of my teammates and she said, ‘Out of 100 teams, we’re in the top eight.’ That explains it all right there.”
Junior Jami Lobpries
On thoughts after first game of the day…
“I think we were still confident. The game just got a way from us. But we were still very confident going into the last game. We knew we could win. We knew if they were going to throw that pitcher (Stacey Nelson) again we were going to win.”
On her performance today…
“I think that the huge thing is getting healthy. I sat out for awhile which was the hardest thing ever, but I knew I wanted to get back in there. I may not have the highest average but I’m going to do what I can to help the team. And if that’s take walks or play great defense; I’ll do whatever I have to. Today I got the RBIs which, yeah, that’s what we needed at the time and if that’s what we need then that’s what I’m going to do to get our team a win.”
On the difference between this year and year’s past…
“We’re a year older and we have a lot of leadership this year. That’s a big thing we lacked last year. We have a great senior class and a great junior class and I think our underclassmen have done a great job of stepping up too. Macie Morrow doesn’t play like a freshman at all. I think a big thing is just leadership and experience.”
Florida Head Coach Tim Walton
I thought today was a great competition between two outstanding teams. It came down to some timely hits, which obviously Texas A&M had. We have to give them a lot of credit. They were a good team. They played hard, made almost every play on defense. Pitching was outstanding. They just kept taking their hacks and kept finding ways to get things done. Our team deserves a lot of credit also. They played their hearts out. They gave everything they had. Today wasn’t good enough, but to get where we have this season, we have accomplished a lot with our program.
Lauren Roussell on her home run …
I was just looking for anything over the plate. Fighting and fighting and fouling them off. I was doing anything I could to put it in play hard somewhere. Lucky for me I put one hard somewhere and it went out.
Lauren Roussell on differences in second and third games…
I felt throughout both games we had our chances to win the game. We kept fighting like we normally do, constantly putting pressure on their pitchers. We did the best we could putting the ball in play. We just couldn’t get that timely hit. In game two, things just fell a little more our way and we were able to get that timely hit.
Stacey Nelson on difference in second game...
Second day out I knew where I was at, I knew the crowd. I knew their hitters. It was just a more comfortable situation for me as a pitcher.