COLLEGE STATION, Texas- Amanda Scarborough threw a three-hit shutout and Alex Reynolds was 2-for-2 at the plate with a sac bunt as the 7th-ranked Texas A&M softball team beat the Florida Gators 2-0 Friday night in the first game of the College Station Super Regional.
“I thought that our kids looked really, really good tonight,” A&M head coach Jo Evans said. “They certainly showed up. I thought offensively and defensively we played very well. We were very sharp and really crisp in the way we played the game tonight.”
The Aggies plated their first run of two on the night in the second inning after a 17-minute rain delay. Jami Lobpries started the inning with a single into right field. Reynolds laid down a bunt to move Lobpries to second. Macie Morrow followed-up with a single of her own, down the leftfield line. Joy Davis poked a shot at Gator second baseman, Kim Walezonia to score Lobpries from third. Walezonia tried to throw home on the play but Lobpries slid just out of reach of catcher Kristina Hilberth’s attempted tag.
Megan Gibson would add a little insurance in the third launching her 12th home run of the season, a solo shot into the bushes behind the leftfield wall. The blast moved Gibson to 40 RBIs on the season.
Scarborough retired the first six batters before surrendering a walk to Lacy Howard to start the third. Howard stole second but was left stranded in scoring position as Corrie Brooks and Hilberth struck out and Walezonia grounded out.
With bases loaded and one out in the sixth, Scarborough bore down in the circle to coax Hilberth to ground out Morrow to Patti Wunderlich at home to keep a Gator run from crossing the plate. A huge strike out of Mary Ratliff on a 2-2 count crushed any chance of a Florida comeback as Scarborough retired the batters in order in the seventh for her 25th victory of the season.
Scarborough earned the win, after working seven complete, walking just two while striking out eight Gator batters.
Stacey Nelson (33-14) was charged with the loss, allowing two runs to score in six innings of work on seven hits. She walked just one Aggie hitter while striking out two.
With her single in the first, Jamie Hinshaw extended her hitting streak to a career-high 10 games.
“I am very pleased about our approach at the plate,” Evans said. “I thought every hitter went up there looking to hit the ball, did a great job with their discipline at the plate and it really a made difference for us tonight. The bottom of our order did a nice job up there being aggressive. Scarborough was great on the mound. She got herself out of a big jam (in the sixth). I thought it was a nice played game by both teams.”
The two teams will face-off again in the best-of-three series Saturday at 1 p.m. The game will be televised by ESPN and can be heard online at AggieAthletics.com and locally on Sports Radio 1150 The Zone.
Head Coach Tim Walton
“Wow, what a crowd. It was pretty intense. It was a good atmosphere. I thought both teams played well. I think the difference was, obviously they got a couple timely hits and their pitcher really was in a groove from the beginning and didn’t really fall out of the groove. I think that was a big statement for them.”
On Scarborough’s pitching…
“I thought she was doing a good job using the zone, whether it be down in the zone or in off the plate a little bit, getting ahead and then from there we’re kind of in a defenseless position. A couple opportunities we did get some good swings. It was early in the count and we didn’t maybe get the best hit we needed. But it was just one of those things, we weren’t nervous. We were focused. We just didn’t get the hit.”
On the difficulty of losing the opening game in the best-of-three series…
“It’s very difficult. Any sport you play you want to want to win that first game. It puts a lot of pressure on us. But if you want to be a champion you’ve got to figure out how to do it. Our backs have been against the wall all year long whether it be from injuries, whether it be through tough crowds, whether it be through tough situations, whether it be a tough regional or a tough super regional. We’re going to work hard tonight, get our rest, and get ourselves focused again for tomorrow.”
Sophomore Stacey Nelson on her pitching…
“I think my problem was I never really got in the zone. I never really got in my groove. They were jumping on pitches early or they were able to see balls and strikes pretty well. Mainly just not getting in my groove.”
Sophomore Kim Waleszonia on Scarborough’s pitching…
“She was making good adjustments. We need to make better ones. She was working around the zone. She did her job and obviously got it done. But we need to make adjustments.”
Texas A&M Quotes
Texas A&M Head Coach Jo Evans
“I thought that our kids looked really, really good tonight. They certainly showed up. I thought offensively and defensively we played very well, very sharp, and really crisp in the way we played the game. I am very pleased about our approach at the plate. I thought every hitter went up there looking to hit the ball, did a great job with their discipline at the plate and it really a made difference for us tonight. The bottom of our order did a nice job up there being aggressive. Scarborough was great on the mound. She got herself out of a big jam. I thought it was a nice played game by both teams.”
On Morrow’s play at home…
“I really thought that was a difference-maker in the game; when you can get out of that without them scoring a run. And then Scarborough of course making great pitches to that last hitter. Macie Morrow has stepped up for us all year long. She doesn’t look like a freshman; she looks like a seasoned player out there.”
On feelings going into tomorrow’s game…
“I don’t feel comfortable at all. I never feel comfortable but I do feel confident. I have a lot of confidence in our team. Of course, winning that first one is really, really important. But at this point in the season you just always have that little edge about you. I thought the intensity tonight; it’s just so fun to play a game like that. I’m sure it’ll be intense again tomorrow. I know Florida will come out and give us everything they have tomorrow. It certainly works to our advantage no doubt, to come out and win that first one and make a statement like we did.”
On the crowd…
“I challenge anyone to find a better atmosphere for college softball in the country. The 12th Man showed up big time. The crowd was absolutely amazing and our kids just fed off of it.”
On Scarborough’s pitching…
“I thought Amanda showed great poise out there. We know they have good hitters. She was able to make some really good pitches in key situations.”
Junior Megan Gibson on being thrown the same pitches both at bats…
“We knew that she (Florida pitcher Stacey Nelson) threw inside, that was her go to pitch. So I was really looking inside and I felt like I just missed that one, in my first at bat. My second at bat I went up with the same mentality. My hands got more inside of the pitch and I was just on it a lot better.”
Junior Amanda Scarborough on her sixth inning pitching…
“I made a couple of good pitches but they just went through the infield, choppers. That’s happened all year. We learn to live with it. That’s what happened in this inning. Runners at second and third, open base. Melissa Zick is their best hitter and we said that we weren’t going to let her beat us today. With that base open we just went ahead and put her on first. To their next batter, I got behind and I really had to bear down. I was not going to walk in a run. I did that against Nebraska (Big 12 Tournament) and I wasn’t going to let that happen again.”
Amanda Scarborough on having an early lead…
“When you score first, the pressure is off your shoulders. Especially in a game that has so much pressure already, it’s just a really good feeling.”