COLLEGE STATION, Texas- Senior All-American Megan Gibson earned her 25th-straight victory of the season in the circle to lift the fifth-ranked Texas A&M softball team (39-6, 11-0 Big 12) to its fifth series sweep of 2008 with a 1-0 shutout of the seventh-ranked Oklahoma Sooners (35-11, 8-2 Big 12) on Sunday afternoon at the Aggie Softball Complex.
“I’m so proud of our kids,” A&M head coach Jo Evans said. “I’m really excited for our ballclub, our staff and our players. This has been a long time coming. Our kids really fought hard today to win this game. Oklahoma is a tough team. You’re always seeing the two teams split and for us to come out and shutdown a great hitting OU team says a lot about our ballclub.”
It was a pitcher’s dual until A&M finally scratched the game’s only run across in the bottom of the sixth inning. Junior Holly Ridley logged her second hit of the game to lead things off for the Aggies. Sophomore designated player Alex Reynolds laid down a sac bunt, but was able to reach first safely as the throw to second base was too late to get out a sliding Ridley. Erin Glasco continued A&M’s small ball laying down a bunt of her own, but this time OU’s Jessica Legendre fired a throw to Savannah Long waiting at third to erase Ridley. For the second time in as many games Jami Lobpries recorded the game-winning RBI, lining a double into the right-centerfield gap to score Reynolds’ pinch-runner Mandy Gegen from second base.
The RBI was Lobpries’ ninth in conference play, which ranks second amongst the Aggie batters.
After plunking Long in the first inning, Gibson went on to retire the next 15 Oklahoma batters, six via strikeout. In the top of the sixth, with one out, freshman Haley Anderson broke-up Gibson’s no-hitter with a short single into leftfield. Following Anderson’s hit, Gibson walked Amber Flores before coaxing two leftfield-flyouts to end any scoring threat the Sooners tried to pose. For the final flyout of the inning, Aggie leftfielder Kelsey Spittler back-peddled to the warning track and tripped, but still managed to come up with the catch on her knees.
“It doesn’t always have to be pretty it just needs to be an out,” Evans said of Spittler’s catch. “Kelsey fought hard. She’s a good kid and she works hard out there. She’s just a freshman and she’s still trying to find her way a little bit. But I’m really pleased with the way she stuck with the ball.”
In all, only three OU batters reached scoring position, as Gibson broke into the NCAA record book’s top-10 for consecutive victories (26) dating back to May 20, 2007 against Houston in the College Station Regional where the Spring, Texas native earned the 5-0 win.
“Megan shutting down their hitters the way she did was great,” Evans ended. “She is just so tough. I’m really excited for her.”
The shutout of the Sooners was Gibson’s 11th shutout of the season and dropped her overall ERA to 0.94. In seven innings of work, Gibson surrendered just two hits while striking out seven OU hitters.
Brenham, Texas sophomore Lauren Eckermann fell to 10-4 on the season with the loss. Eckermann worked six complete allowing just the one run on five hits. She fanned three Aggie batters while surrendering four free passes.
Macie Morrow and Ridley each registered two hits in the game, marking the team-leading 16th multi-hit game of the season for Morrow, while it served as Ridley’s fifth.
Gibson’s 9-0 Big 12 record is a league best, along with her 83 strikeouts.
Next on the slate for the Aggies is a Wednesday doubleheader against the Oklahoma State Cowgirls. The first game is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. in Stillwater, Okla. Fans can access live audio and stats of the two-game series on AggieAthletics.com.