COLLEGE STATION, Texas- The third-ranked Texas A&M softball team (11-2) used solid pitching performances from senior All-American Amanda Scarborough and freshman Rhiannon Kliesing to pace the Aggies to 7-1 and 3-0 wins over undefeated Stephen F. Austin (4-2) on a wet Wednesday afternoon at the Aggie Softball Complex.
“It’s nice to come back to the Aggie Softball Complex and get a couple wins,” A&M head coach Jo Evans said. “It’s always nice to be back home. I thought our kids played well.”
A&M struck first in the bottom half of the first inning when Natalie Villarreal drew a leadoff walk, her fifth base-on-balls of the season, and stole second base. Scarborough’s two-out, 0-1 count double plated Villarreal to give the Aggies the early 1-0 lead.
The Aggies added an insurance run in the second when Erin Glasco reached on an error. Senior centerfielder Jami Lobpries singled and freshman leftfielder Kelsey Spittler walked to load the bases. Villarreal hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield allowing Glasco to score. It was the freshman’s seventh RBI of the season.
SFA answered in the top of the third when Kendal Harper drilled her first homerun of the season, an in-the-park round-tripper.
A leadoff single from Alex Reynolds in the fourth inning sparked a five-run rally for the Aggies, highlighted by Gibson’s third longball of the year, her 46th career.
Scarborough improved to 4-2, striking out nine and allowing just two walks in seven complete innings of work in the circle.
Freshman Monika Covington (2-1) suffered the loss for the Ladyjacks allowing seven runs on 10 hits.
“I thought Scarborough looked really good,” Evans continued. “She started to look comfortable out there. She came off the field after the second inning and said she felt good and was back to her normal self. It was nice to see her just feel good about her performance and come away with a good win.”
A&M senior third baseman Jamie Hinshaw scored for the Aggies in the second inning of game two after reaching on a one-out double into right centerfield. Glasco hit a shot back to the pitcher, who launched the ball into rightfield allowing Hinshaw to race home.
The Aggies sealed the victory in the top of the fourth on a pair of solo homeruns by Reynolds and Glasco. Reynolds replaced Scarborough as A&M’s designated player in the second inning.
Kliesing (1-0) tossed a two-hit gem retiring the last 12 batters she faced. The freshman-righty struck out three without surrendering a free pass, to earn her first victory as an Aggie.
Freshman Lauren Luetge (1-1) shouldered the loss allowing three runs on four hits.
“I love Kliesing’s composure on the mound. I’ve always loved that about her,” Evans ended. “That was a big reason we recruited her and wanted to have her on our ballclub. She goes out there no-nonsense and takes care of business. She expects to be successful out there. She doesn’t pitch like a freshman. She and Erin worked really well together out there today.”
A&M returns to action Friday when they host the Texas A&M Invitational at the Aggie Softball Complex. Tournament play will begin at 10 a.m. with the Aggies set to play their first game at 3 p.m. against Temple.