COLLEGE STATION -- Four long balls by Megan Gibson, Joy Davis, Amanda Scarborough and Bailey Schroeder lifted the No. 4 Texas A&M softball team (16-2) to its 15th and 16th wins of the season on the opening day of the 2007 Texas A&M Invitational at the Aggie Softball Complex.
“It’s nice to come out and start the tournament with two wins,” commented A&M head coach Jo Evans. “We’re living by the long ball right now. We’re hitting the ball well and getting the home runs from unlikely people. JD (Davis) isn’t typically a home run hitter and neither is Bailey, but both stepped up big for us tonight.”
The Aggies faced the University of Illinois (9-8) in the first of their two games. A&M walked away with a 6-2 win after Davis and Scarborough drove the ball over the outfield fence.
Macie Morrow reached in the first inning on a walk; she stole second and moved to third on a fly out by Jamie Hinshaw. Morrow advanced home for A&M’s first run of the game on a wild pitch by Illini pitcher, Vicky Brown.
Illinois would bring home two runs in the bottom half of the inning after scattering three doubles and a single off Scarborough, who was making her ninth appearance in the circle.
Davis’ shot in the second, a solo bomb, her third career home run, tied the game two-all.
Scarborough settled down after the first, retiring eight consecutive batters and only allowing one more hit for the remainder of the game.
“I thought Amanda really settled down after the first inning,” Evans said. “She mixed up her pitches and took total control of the game. It was nice to see her get comfortable.”
In the third Scarborough helped her cause at the plate blasting a two-run shot that scored Gibson who reached with a two-out walk, putting the Aggies up 4-2 and securing her seventh win in the circle. She worked seven complete allowing just two runs on five hits, while striking out five.
A&M would add two more insurance runs in the sixth when Scarborough led-off with a walk and Jami Lobpries reached first on an error on Illinois second baseman Molly Lawhead. Scarborough moved to third on the play and scored on Schroeder’s doubled up the middle. Lobpries came in on an infield grounder by Davis for A&M’s sixth and final run of the game.
The Aggies’ second game was a littler closer as A&M managed to hold on to a one-run lead for the 2-1 win over Syracuse (2-10).
Gibson earned the start in the circle and immediately gave herself some run support in her first at-bat, driving a solo shot deep over the wall for her seventh home run of the season. Gibson is now three home runs shy of owning the Aggie career record for most home runs.
“Against Syracuse, I felt like we came out a little tight,” Evans continued. “Gibson threw well for us in the circle. She shut them down in some key situations and got some big strike outs when we needed them.”
The Orange evened the score one-all in the fourth with two singles by Chanel Roehner and Lindsay Wasek and a sac bunt by Rachel Tilford.
Heading into the bottom of the sixth, deadlocked at one, Schroeder stepped up with one out and drilled a shot over the left field fence for her first home run as an Aggie, her second RBI of the day. Schroeder ended the evening having gone 3-for-5 with a double and a home run.
“I’m really pleased with how Bailey is stepping up and fulfilling her role for us as a starter,” ended Evans.
Gibson struck out a career high 11 batters en route to her eighth victory of the season. She threw seven complete allowing one run on six hits and two free passes.
The Aggies return to action again tomorrow for day two of the Texas A&M Invitational at 2:30 p.m. against McNeese State and then 4:45 p.m. against Illinois.
Fans are reminded that parking on Saturday near the Aggie Softball Complex is reserved for men’s basketball and baseball season ticket holders. Fans can pay to park in the Reed Arena lot or the West Campus Parking Garage.
Texas A&M........... 112 002 0 - 6 6 0
Illinois............ 200 000 0 - 2 5 1
Win - Scarborough (7-3). Loss - Brown (5-2). Save - None.
WP - Brown.
Syracuse............ 000 100 0 - 1 6 0
Texas A&M........... 010 010 X - 2 6 1
Win - Gibson (8-0). Loss - GARDNER (2-8). Save - None.
WP - GARDNER. PB - Rowan. Pitches/