COLLEGE STATION, Texas- Texas A&M third baseman Jamie Hinshaw went 2-for-3 at the plate, driving in both of the Aggies’ runs as the No. 5 seeded A&M softball team (50-7) handed the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks (36-24) a 2-0 loss on the opening day of the College Station Regional at the Aggie Softball Complex.
Following a 12-inning, three hour and 25 minute battle between Louisiana Tech and Auburn in which the Lady Techsters pulled out the 1-0 victory, A&M and SFA began what would prove to be another low-scoring competition.
“SFA did exactly what I thought they were going to do,” A&M head coach Jo Evans said. “I thought they would come out and be really fired up. I knew Coach McNutt was going to be hyped up, and her kids were fired up and ready to go. There was no surprise out there in how they played the game. I think that Megan [Gibson] and Erin [Glasco] did a really good job of recognizing of what would work to our advantage.”
Aggie leadoff batter, Rhiannon Kliesing started the bottom of the first frame with a single into right-centerfield and quickly moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by fellow freshman Natalie Villarreal. With two outs Hinshaw lined a single into shallow rightfield that rolled to Kendal Harper slowly enough to allow Kliesing to score from second.
The one-run lead would hold up without much threat until the top of the sixth inning when the Ladyjacks recorded back-to-back singles from Harper and Benet Higgs. With just one out on the board, Briana Bishop sent a hot-shot that Macie Morrow fumbled allowing SFA to load the bases. Gibson, A&M’s two-time All-American, tightened the reigns and fanned the next two Ladyjack batters in Moriah Davis and Ashley Struchtemeyer.
“I think you saw Megan be the leader that she is,” Evans said. “She did exactly what we asked her to which was throw groundballs so we could make plays. We didn’t make a couple of plays there and typically we make all the plays. Megan knows that about our defense. We didn’t do that in the sixth inning and that could have been really frustrating for her and she could have felt sorry for herself but she didn’t. She stepped up and said 'alright, well I’ll shut it down here.’ I thought Erin did a really nice job of recognizing what worked for us.”
Gibson carried the momentum from the two strikeouts into her next at-bat in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs, the Big 12 Pitcher and Player of the Year stroked a 1-0 pitch into the straightaway centerfield wall, about five feet up. Hinshaw picked up her second RBI of the night with a single back up the middle, plating Gibson.
With the 14 Ks on the night, Gibson improved to 34-1 in the circle. It was her 11th multi-strikeout and 33rd complete of game of the season.
Shouldering the loss for the Ladyjacks was starter Monika Covington. Surrendering two runs in six innings, Covington fell to 20-13 on the season. The freshman fanned seven Aggie hitters without allowing a free pass.
A&M returns to action on Saturday against La Tech at noon. Fans can listen to the game on aggieathletics.com or locally on Sports Radio 1150 the Zone.
Fans wishing to purchase tickets can do so by logging on to aggieathletics.com or through the Athletic Ticket Office at 1-888-99-AGGIE.
Parking will be open and free of charge in lots accessible off Tom Chandler Ave. or Olsen Blvd. on both Friday and Saturday.
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