LUBBOCK, Texas- Freshman pitcher Rhiannon Kliesing tossed a complete game, striking out nine batters along the way to pick up her ninth victory of the season as the seventh-ranked Texas A&M softball team swept the two-game series against Texas Tech with a 3-1 win on Saturday afternoon at Rocky Johnson Field.
The Aggies improve to 31-6 on the season, 3-0 in Big 12 play while the Red Raiders drop to 7-24, 0-2 in league play.
“I was very impressed with Rhi’s performance on the mound today,” A&M head coach Jo Evans said. “She started the game a little shaky but got stronger as the game went on. In the second inning she was able to get a couple of really big strikeouts to keep Tech from scoring.”
The Red Raiders attacked early, scoring a run in the bottom of the first. Leah Legler started the inning with an infield single and quickly stole second. With one out Montana Patin lined a double into the left-centerfield gap scoring Legler from second. Patin was able to advance to third on a wild pitch by Kliesing. Tech would strand Patin at third after a ground out by Megan Shupp and a strikeout by Jennifer Bowers.
Freshman second baseman Natalie Villarreal blasted a double down the rightfield line to drive in her 24th RBI of the season in Andrea Tovar and tie the game at one-all. Tovar, who scored from second, was brought in to pinch run for Erin Glasco who reached on a free pass to start the second frame. The Aggies had the bases loaded with just one out but were unable to scratch another run across in the inning as Tye Coats was able to coax two groundouts to end A&M’s scoring threat.
In bottom of the second Tech had runners on first and third with no outs but a stellar fielding play and throw home by Villarreal cut down the leadoff runner Jennifer Corkin and Kliesing dug down and struckout the next two batters to keep the score tied at one.
A single to start the third by Hinshaw and a double down the leftfield line by Glasco propelled the Aggies to take a one-run lead in the top half of the inning. Ridley followed up with a single of her own through the left side, scoring Hinshaw from third, picking up her seventh RBI of the season.
The Red Raiders brought Ashly Jacobs in to finish out the third inning on the mound. Coats (3-10) worked just two and two-thirds allowing two runs on tow hits. She walked two and struckout two.
“I was pleased with our kid’s ability to be aggressive at the plate today and cause them to make a pitching change early,” Evans said. “Our kids put pressure on their defense the entire game and that was huge in us walking away with the win.”
Macie Morrow added to A&M’s lead in the top of the fourth plating Bailey Schroeder who was brought in pinch run for Reynolds who’d singled down the leftfield line to start the inning. The RBI was Morrow’s 15th of the season and Schroeder’s 10th run scored.
Kliesing allowed just one run off four hits in seven complete. After surrendering a single to start the fourth inning, Kliesing retired the next 12 batters for the first sweep of Tech in Lubbock since 2004.
A&M will continue Big 12 play Wednesday in Waco as the Aggies face the Baylor Lady Bears at Getterman Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and can be heard on AggieAthletics.com and locally in the Bryan/College Station area on Sports Radio 1150 the Zone.