CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - The second-ranked Texas A&M softball team (1-1) beat New Mexico State 3-2 before falling to Cal Poly 5-1 on day one action of the Cathedral City Kickoff in Cathedral City, Calif.
“I saw some good things today,” A&M head coach Jo Evans said. “I thought Macie (Morrow) really looked good at the plate. She did nice job of mixing it up and looked confident up there. Defensively, we did some good things, as well. Natalie Villarreal looked really good on defense, as I expected she would. Offensively, Erin Glasco also did a nice job at the plate and did a nice job of throwing out runners, she was right on today. That is something we’ve really been missing. I am excited to see her take charge back there.”
In the early game, NMSU and A&M battled through two scoreless innings before Morrow came home to plate the first run of the game in the third. Morrow reached on an infield single and advanced to second as Villarreal reached on an error by the NMSU third baseman. Morrow came home on a passed ball.
With two outs in the inning Amanda Scarborough drove home Villarreal and Megan Gibson, who reached on a walk, with a single up the middle pushing the lead to 3-0. It would be all the run support A&M would need to fend off New Mexico State.
NMSU would bring the game within one in the fifth. Kristi Randall leadoff the inning with a walk and moved to second on a bunt single by Stephanie Herrera. The pair would eventually score on a double down the right field line by five-hole hitter Ashley Maroda. However, Gibson bore down and did not allow another run to cross the plate over the next three innings.
Gibson earned her first win of the season on the mound, working seven complete giving up just two runs on seven hits. The All-American from Spring, Texas struck out seven, allowing three free passes.
In the second game of the day for the Aggies, Cal Poly jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. Sarah Iwata started the game by lining a ground-rule double over the right field fence. She advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Stephanie Tam.
The Aggies had a chance to even the score and perhaps take a lead in the bottom of the third as Gibson stepped up to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. Gibson took the count to 2-1 before flying out to deep centerfield to end the inning.
The Mustangs tacked four more runs off four hits in the fifth. Iwata and Tam reached on back-to-back singles and Melissa Pura loaded the bases on an Aggie error. Cal Poly cleanup batter Krysten Cary looped a single just over the outreached arms of first baseman Rhi Kliesing driving in Iwata and Tam. Stephanie Corriea lined a single into centerfield to bring home two more runs in the inning for the Mustangs.
A&M had the bases loaded again in the fifth but could not push a run across as Scarborough flew out to shallow right field to end any scoring threat the Aggies might try to mount.
“I thought we were very tentative at the plate, we were over-thinking,” Evans noted. “We are just so much better when we are loose and aggressive. That is going to be the big focus for tomorrow, trying to make sure we are loose and to really get aggressive and confident in our at-bats.”
Scarborough was charged with the loss, allowing five runs to score on eight hits. She walked two and struck out six in five innings of work. Kliesing was brought into the circle in the sixth to relieve Scarborough. In two innings of work the freshman allowed just one hit and one walk.
The Aggies left 11 runners on base against Cal Poly, eight of which were in scoring position.
“We stranded a bunch of runners in the second game,” Evans ended. “The difference in the game was they got timely hits and we didn’t. I think our kids will come out tomorrow and really get after it and that’s what we need.”
Scarborough ended the first day going 2-for-6 at the plate driving in three of the Aggies four runs. Morrow was 4-for-5 with a run scored.
The Aggies return to action at Big League Dreams Park at 12:30 p.m. (CST) on Saturday with a game against Cal State Northridge and will face Oregon State at 3 p.m. (CST).