COLLEGE STATION, Texas- Amanda Scarborough threw a one-hit shutout and the 7th-ranked Texas A&M softball team pounded out 15 hits to beat the Sam Houston State Bearkats 11-0 in six innings to advance to Sunday’s championship game of the College Station Regional.
With the win, A&M (42-11) will play the Houston Cougars (44-16) on Sunday at 1 p.m. While the loss ends Sam Houston’s season at 38-26.
“It’s fun to win,” A&M head coach Jo Evans said. “It’s fun to come back from that first game where we were disappointed in our play. It just feels really good to see our kids comfortable playing the game. I’m proud of the way they came out. They weren’t defensive. They didn’t feel like if we don’t win our season is over. We really took a proactive approach and a positive approach. That’s what you have to have in this game.”
The Aggies, the visiting team in the contest, managed two runs in the first inning as Sharonda McDonald reached on a bunt single to start the game. Two batters later Megan Gibson stroked a 2-2 pitch over the leftfield wall giving her 36 RBIs on the season.
A&M would manage another run in the second as McDonald lined a first-pitch two-out double into the right-centerfield gap. Jamie Hinshaw would follow suit, sending a first-pitch single up the middle to score McDonald.
Gibson started the fifth, roping a single into leftfield. Scarborough followed it up with an almost identical single of her own. With two outs, Joy Davis and Macie Morrow singled to bring in three more A&M runs, pushing the score to 6-0 in the Aggies’ favor.
A five-run sixth sealed A&M’s spot in Sunday’s championship showdown against Houston. McDonald led off the inning with her fourth single of the game, tying her career high. Hinshaw, Gibson and Scarborough each lined singles of their own, Gibson picking up her third RBI of the game and Scarborough picking up her first. Morrow’s double drove in two more runs for the Aggies, as the freshman picked up her fourth RBI of the night.
Sam Houston lifted starter, Morgan Mikulin in the sixth after surrendering all 11 runs on 14 hits to the Aggies. The Bearkats replaced Mikulin with Brandi Crnkovic who worked two-thirds of an inning giving up just one hit.
McDonald ended the game going 4-for-4 at the plate with three runs scored. Gibson and Scarborough were each 3-for-4 on the night. Gibson drove in and scored three runs, with Scarborough driving in and scoring a run of her own.
“I thought Sharonda really set the tone at the plate going 4-for-4 and hit the ball hard,” Evans said. “When Gibson hit the homerun I breathed a sigh of relief myself because she’s really struggled at the plate lately. To see her get out there and have a multi-hit game really makes a difference for our team. She’s someone who’s stepped up for us all year so we really needed her to come around in that game.”
Scarborough picked up her 23rd victory in the circle, working six complete; she struck out nine Bearkat batters without allowing a free pass.
“We really needed one of our pitchers to have a complete game where they looked comfortable,” Evans ended. “That’s what Scarborough did; she was comfortable on the mound. She had all her pitches working for her. I thought Patti Wunderlich did a really nice job behind the plate.”
Live video of A&M’s game against Houston can be found on AggieAthletics.com. Fans in the Bryan/College Station area can listen on Sports Radio 1150 The Zone.
Texas A&M........... 210 035 - 11 15 1
Sam Houston State... 000 000 - 0 1 1
E - Morrow(10); Nelson(2). LOB - A&M 7; SHSU 3. 2B - McDonald(3); Morrow(11). HR - Gibson(11). HBP - Lindsey. SH -
Lobpries(6); Brown(7). SB - McDonald(34); Hinshaw(25); Lobpries(4).
Win - Scarborough (23-7). Loss - Mikulin (17-13). Save - None.
WP - Mikulin(7). HBP - by Scarborough (Lindsey).