TEMPE, Ariz. - The third-ranked Texas A&M softball team (9-2) dropped an 8-7 decision to No. 6 Northwestern before bouncing back to pound out 10 runs on nine hits against No. 15 Washington, picking up its ninth win of the season at the Tempe Sports Complex in Tempe, Ariz.
“I like the way we came back, but I was frustrated really with our at-bats too many strikeouts,” A&M head coach Jo Evans said. “You have bases loaded in the fifth inning and (Lauren) Delaney was struggling to throw strike and when she did throw strikes she was getting all plate and her ball looked flat. She certainly didn’t look like the pitcher we saw the first night and I was not at all happy with the way our kids got up and approached the plate. It was nice for a couple of our kids to draw walks, but then after that I don’t have a lot of good things to say about what we did there.”
On Friday, Amanda Scarborough was given the start in the circle against the Wildcats. The game served as the start of the 2008 season for Northwestern. NU began the game by plating two runs in the first inning. With one out, Tammy Williams, Nicole Pauly and Michelle Batts spread singles across the field.
A&M quickly counted with two runs of its own in the bottom of the first. Freshman second baseman Natalie Villarreal drew a seven pitch walk to start the inning. With one out, Megan Gibson stroked an 0-1 ball to dead centerfield for the 44th homerun of her career to even the score two-all.
The two teams wavered back and forth with NU platting another run in the second and two more in the third off three hits and a hit batsman. The hit in the second inning was a solo shot by the left-handed hitting Kelly Dyer to rightfield.
In the third inning, Macie Morrow brought the Aggies back within one as she launched her second homerun of the young season; a two-run shot that more than cleared the right-centerfield fence. Scoring on the play was Kelsey Spittler, who like Villarreal, reached on a walk to start the inning.
The Wildcats tacked on three more runs over the fourth and fifth innings. With two outs in the fourth Darcy Sengewald doubled to right field and came home on a Williams singled to nearly the same spot, to score Sengewald from second.
After giving up a homerun to Batts to start the fifth, Rhiannon Kliesing was brought in to relieve Scarborough. With the bases empty Kliesing coaxed a pop up before surrendering a walk E Dyer. Quinn was brought in to pinch hit and singled up the middle to push the Wildcats’ lead to 8-4.
Villarreal and Morrow patiently drew walks to start the bottom of the fifth before Gibson was nailed in the arm with an 0-1 pitch to load the bases for Scarborough. With the bases loaded and no outs, the umpires suspend the game for inclement weather.
The Wildcats and Aggies picked up with the bases loaded and Scarborough at the plate on Sunday morning.
Scarborough drew a four pitch walk bringing home Morrow and keeping the bases loaded. Glasco also patiently drew a walk bringing the Aggies within two runs of tying the game.
Spittler reached on an infield single to start the sixth and came as Gibson placed an RBI double on the right field line. Kliesing, A&M’s freshman reliever held NU scoreless over the next two innings
However, 8-7 was as close as A&M would get as Delaney retired the Aggies in order in the seventh to log her second win of the season.
Scarborough was charged with the loss, her second of the season. The senior gave up seven runs on nine hits in four innings of work.
In the second game against the Huskies, the Aggies plated seven runs in the bottom of the first to pace themselves to the 10-4 victory.
“I was really pleased with the way we came back against Washington,” Evans said. “I told the kids to be more aggressive at the plate. We hit some pitches where (Caitlin) Noble made some mistakes early on in the game. We were relentless and had a couple that just fell in. Natalie set the table, the tone in the game by crushing the ball down the line. That made a statement saying, ‘Alright, I get it, I’m going to do something to help our team.’”
Washington actually got on the board first scoring three runs to start the game. With one out, back to back singles by Marine Koziol and Jace Williams and a double by Lauren Greer put the Huskies up 2-0. An overthrow from the Aggie outfield into homeplate allowed Greer to move to third and score on a sac fly by Alicia Blake.
A&M sent 10 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first. The highlight of the inning came with two runners on as Spittler belted her second homerun as an Aggie.
Gibson’s 45th career homerun came in the second inning as she brought Morrow home. Morrow reached on a single on the left side of the Huskies’ infield.
Washington managed its fourth and final run of the game in the fourth inning. Blake reached on a single and moved to second as Ashlyn Watson drew a walk. Morgan Stuart lined a double up the middle to score Blake.
The Aggies got the run back in the bottom of the frame as Hinshaw and Glasco each drew walks and moved around the bases on a ground out and a wild pitch by Aleah Macon who came in for relief of Washington starter Noble in the second.
Gibson recorded her sixth win in as many starts, working seven complete. She struck out seven and walked just two Washington batters.
Noble dropped to 3-2 on the season with the loss. She gave up nine runs in just one complete inning of work.
The Aggies return home for a doubleheader at the Aggies Softball Complex on Wednesday, Feb. 20 against the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks. First pitch of game one is set for 3 p.m.