COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Despite Texas A&M team getting out to a two-run lead against No. 10 Arizona, the Wildcats fought back and handed the 21st-ranked Aggie softball team a 9-4 loss on a cool, windy Saturday evening at the Aggie Softball Complex.
Before a season-high crowd of 1,403, A&M (12-8) led by two after the second inning and were within one run after the fifth, but a five-run sixth frame by Arizona (14-3) put the second game of the series out of reach for the Aggies.
“Arizona has good hitters and they stepped up tonight,” said head coach Jo Evans. “It wasn’t a long ball night for anyone. They just went out there, set the table and got timely hits.”
In the bottom of the second sophomore Kelsey Spittler and junior Alex Reynolds tallied the first hits of the game - back-to-back, one-out singles. Both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch before sophomore Rhi Kliesing hit a long, two-out double to the left field corner to score both runners and get A&M out to a 2-0 lead.
A bases-loaded walk by Lini Koria pushed the first run across for the Wildcats in the top of the third and a sacrifice fly to center field by K’Lee Arredondo scored Lauren Schutzler from third to even the score at two apiece.
In the fourth Arizona added two more off the bat of Jenae Leles. Leles singled to left with two outs to plate Karissa Buchanan and Brittany Lastrapes who both reached with slap singles in the infield.
Sophomore Natalie Villarreal led off the bottom of the fifth with a double to straight center field. Junior Macie Morrow drew a walk before senior Holly Ridley laced a double to left center that scored Villarreal. Morrow was also waved home but a perfect relay caught the Sugar Land, Texas, native at the plate and Ridley was put out trying to advance to third to end the inning with the Aggies down by one run, 4-3.
“I’m not sorry I sent Macie, we had a good shot at it, but it did hurt us a bit getting thrown out of that inning.” said Evans. “They had to make a perfect relay and they did, and that happens sometimes.”
Arizona erupted for five runs in the top of the sixth, highlighted by a two-out bases clearing double by Arredondo.
In the bottom of the inning, A&M got one run back on two consecutive Wildcat errors, but could not overcome the five-run deficit.
Freshman Rebecca Arbino (4-4) earned the loss in the circle giving up all nine runs in five innings of work. Kliesing relieved Arbino in the sixth and struck out five in two innings.
Lindsey Sisk (7-2) picked up the win throwing a complete game with four runs on seven hits and four strike outs.
“I saw some good things out of our team tonight,” Evans said. “I really like our team’s fight. Offensively our team is doing a good job too. We’ve scored 10 runs against Arizona in two days, so we just need to keep our confidence at the plate. No errors means we’re getting more consistent defensively and we’re swinging the bat really well. We’re competing, so I feel good about our team and our chances coming out against the Wildcats tomorrow.”
The series is tied, 1-1, and the final game is slated for Sunday at 12:15 p.m. at the Aggie Softball Complex. Texas A&M Faculty and Staff can purchase tickets for only $3 by showing their TAMU-issued ID as a part of Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day.