OXFORD, Miss. – The No. 15 Texas A&M softball team broke out of a conference slump with an 8-4 win at Ole Miss, Saturday in the second game of a three-game Southeastern Conference series.
The win ties the series at 1-1 between the Aggies (36-13, 7-12 SEC) and the Rebels (23-30, 3-20 SEC). The rubber match between the two teams is set for 1 p.m. Sunday.
Freshman Cali Lanphear started the game with a two-run home run in her first at-bat, after she also started Friday’s game with a long ball. Today, junior Amber Garza reached on a single to right field and was plated on the laser over right-centerfield as A&M took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.
Ole Miss evened the score in the bottom of the inning on a two-run homer over left field, and took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the second.
Junior Jenna Stark tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the third when her one-out solo home run cleared the fence down the left-field line to put the Aggies back in the game.
A four-run fifth inning gave the Aggies their second lead of the day at 7-3 as two-RBI hits by Garza and junior Cassie Tysarczyk scored runs for A&M.
Junior Emily Albus led off with a bunt single and, with one out on the board, Stark singled up the middle and was replaced on the base paths by junior Allison Garrett. Garrett stole second before Garza hammered a base hit down the right-field line to send Albus and Garrett home for the 5-3 lead.
With Garza at first, junior Nicole Morgan drew a walk before Tysarczyk doubled to left-center field to plate two runs and give A&M a four-run advantage.
A bases-loaded walk by Morgan in the top of the sixth pushed in the Aggies’ final run of the game. Morgan reached three times on the day, on a hit-by-pitch and two walks.
Albus led off again in the sixth with a single to centerfield, and was joined on base by sophomore Brittany Clopton, who also reached on a base hit. The pair advanced into scoring position on a passed ball before a two-out walk by Lanphear loaded the bases just in time for Morgan to force the 8-3 run home on a walk.
The Rebels scored one last run in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI single, but it wasn’t enough as the Aggies broke free from a slump with the 8-4 victory in Oxford.
Senior Mel Dumezich (24-6) threw seven complete innings, fanning four batters and giving up four earned runs on nine hits and three walks for the win. Ole Miss starting pitcher Madi Osias (3-3) took the loss after allowing five earned runs on six hits and four walks while striking out three.
A&M’s win ended a losing streak that included six straight conference losses and seven straight SEC losses on the road.
The Aggies and Rebels will play the series finale tomorrow at 1 p.m. to determine a series victor. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.