AUSTIN, Texas- Junior Holly Ridley was responsible for all three of the Aggies’ RBIs as the rightfielder went 1-for-3 at the plate with a two-run homerun as the fifth-ranked Texas A&M softball team (37-6) improved to 9-0 in Big 12 play with a 3-1 victory over the Texas Longhorns (19-15-2, 5-4 Big 12) in front of 1,111 fans at McCombs Field in Austin at the State Farm Lone Star Showdown Wednesday night.
“This felt harder than any game we’ve played this season,” A&M head coach Jo Evans said. “You just know their going to keep coming at you and their crowd is going to be in it. They were fired up; I thought Texas played very well. They had opportunities and Megan Gibson was able to shut it down. I thought it was a well played game.”
The Aggies brought seven batters to the plate in the top of the first, plating a run as Ridley was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, bringing home Natalie Villarreal who reached with A&M’s first of seven hits in the game.
Texas was able to get the run back in the bottom of the fourth when Loryn Johnson hit a solo homerun over the left-centerfield wall.
The tie wouldn’t hold long as Ridley drove home RBIs two and three on the night with a two-run liner over the Texas fans standing beyond the leftfield fence. The longball was Ridley’s second of the season and put A&M up 3-1.
“Holly was huge tonight,” Evans said. “She got up there and got the RBI in the first, getting hit by the pitch. When she got up there in her at-bat [in the fifth] she was swinging the bat. I like the way she was comfortable and getting her hacks. We set the table for her. The homerun was huge. Two years ago she stepped up and hit a homerun to straight-away centerfield. She really gave us a chance to win the ballgame.”
The Longhorns tried to rally in the bottom of the frame as Desiree Williams and starting pitcher Brittany Barnhill both logged infield singles to start the inning. Brittany Chalk sacrificed the runners into scoring position, but in typical Gibson fashion, the senior All-American struckout Amy Hooks and Crystal Saenz, her eighth and ninth Ks of the game to strand the runners and keep the score in A&M’s favor.
Villarreal ended the evening going 2-for-4 at the plate with two singles and a run scored. Jami Lobpries was 2-for-3 with a double.
Gibson (23-0) remained perfect in the circle working seven complete allowing just one run on three hits. She picked up 12 strikeouts and did not surrender a walk.
“I’m really excited about the way Gibson pitched tonight,” Evans ended. “It just shows how gutsy, how competitive she is.”
Barnhill dropped to 5-8 on the season with the loss. The freshman allowed three runs on seven hits. She walked four and struckout three Aggie batters.
The Aggies return home to host the Oklahoma Sooners in a pivotal match-up as both teams are undefeated in league play. First pitch on Saturday is slated for 2 p.m. at the Aggie Softball Complex.
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