BATON ROUGE, La. – The No. 5 Texas A&M softball team tallied a season-high 12 hits in an 8-3 win over Sam Houston State on Friday afternoon in the first game of the Easton Tiger Classic.
In just the second contest at LSU’s new Tiger Park, the Aggies improved to 5-1, while the Bearkats (4-2) received their second loss of the season to A&M.
Junior Alex Reynolds was a perfect 3-for-3 with three runs and an RBI. Freshman Kelsey Orsak had her first multiple-hit game going 2-for-3 with two runs and a stolen base. Freshman pitcher Rebecca Arbino picked up her second win giving up three runs, none of which were earned, and striking out four.
“Alex is in the zone,” said head coach Jo Evans. “We moved her in the four-hole and she really relishes that. It’s exciting to see her get opportunities and to make the most of them. She also made a couple of terrific plays. Becca had a good game today too. She’s learning as she’s out there and she really did a nice job.”
The Aggies jumped out quickly against the Bearkats and in the top of the first sophomore Natalie Villarreal drew a walk with one out, and with two down the Frisco, Texas, native stole second and moved into scoring position. Three consecutive hits, a single through the right side by Reynolds, a double to left center by senior Erin Glasco and a single off of the wrist of the SHSU pitcher by senior Holly Ridley scored Villarreal, Reynolds and Glasco and gave the Aggies an early 3-0 lead.
“We came off of a tough 14-inning game with Sam Houston State and I love how we just changed our whole mentality and got up there and were very aggressive,” said Evans. “We put pressure on them. When you score three in the first, it just makes you feel a whole lot better coming off of a tough game like that.”
Orsak slapped a chopper up the middle for a single with one out in the second frame. From Pearland, Texas, the speedy centerfielder advanced to second on a groundout by sophomore Kelsey Spittler and scored on a line-drive single to center by Villarreal to increase A&M’s lead to 4-0.
The Aggies tacked on another run in the third. Back-to-back walks by Reynolds and Glasco put two runners on and with two outs Morrow dropped a base hit into right field to plate Reynolds from second and put the Aggies up, 5-0.
“I just love being able to pick up RBIS with two outs,” said Evans. “It shows that we’re fighters and that we’re comfortable hitting in any situation. Plus it puts pressure on the opposing teams.”
In the top of the sixth, Orsak bunted for her second single of the day and stole second before lead-off batter Spittler hit an RBI single through the left side and Orsak easily crossed home plate for a 6-0 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Sam Houston scored three unearned runs after an A&M error and three Bearkat hits for a new score of 6-3.
The Aggies answered in the top of the seventh as Reynolds started off the inning with a single to shallow center field. The Tomball, Texas, product was almost picked off after a line drive to the SHSU shortstop, but an overthrow back to first by Hailey Wiginton allowed Reynolds to advance to second. Ridley then ripped the first triple of the year, a laser to right center that plated Reynolds. Morrow followed with a deep sacrifice fly to left that brought in Ridley from third and gave A&M another five-run lead.
“We could have easily gotten down after they got three runs and we didn’t,” Evans said. “It was nice to see our team answer back. I think that took the wind out of Sam Houston’s sails.”
The Easton Tiger Classic continues on Saturday as the Aggies play an 11 a.m. game versus Ohio State and follow with a 2 p.m. contest against the host and 21st-ranked LSU Tigers.
For free live audio and live stats of tomorrow’s games, log on to AggieAthletics.com.