HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- The No. 8 Texas A&M softball team is 6-0 on the season after an 8-3 victory over Sam Houston State, Wednesday at the Bearkat Softball Stadium.
Junior pitcher Rachel Fox (2-0) earned her second win of the season with a two-hit outing. Senior Taran Tyler was 3-for-4 on the night with two runs scored, two RBI and a home run. Freshman April Ryan and senior Nicole Morgan also had home runs on the night.
Morgan got as far as second base in the top of the first inning after reaching on a base hit, but was unable to go further. In her next at bat, the catcher put the Aggies on the board with a home run over right field, her fourth long ball of the season.
The shot plated three runs for the 3-0 lead and moved Morgan’s RBI tally on the year to 17. Scoring on the play were junior Brittany Clopton – who reached on an error, and senior Emily Albus – who sped to first on a bunt single.
The Aggies loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the fourth with a base hit by Tyler, a walk by Clopton and a fielder’s choice by Ryan. With a strike against her, Morgan swung hard at a pitch but the ball was too high for grand slam territory and the Bearkat left fielder made the play to end the half inning.
A three-run fifth inning made up for the bases-loaded ending to the fourth, as the Aggies stretched to a 6-0 lead. Senior Amber Garza reached on a bunt single and moved to second on a passed ball before a base hit through the right side by senior Cassie Tysarczyk sent Garza to third as Tysarczyk took second on the throw.
With two runners in scoring position, sophomore Cali Lanphear popped out to centerfield and plated Garza on the sacrifice. A two-out home run by Tyler scored the Aggies’ fifth and sixth runs of the night as the ball cleared the fence in left.
Ryan added a third home run of the night for the Aggies in the top of the sixth. Her solo shot pushed the Texas A&M lead to 7-0 when it hit the foul pole in right field.
The Aggies’ final run of the night came on the wheels of a Reagan Boenker double to right-center field. The freshman’s shot scored Tyler, who reached on a base hit, for the 8-0 lead.
The Bearkats rallied in the final frame, loading the bases before scoring three runs on four base hits, a walk and a hit-by-pitch. The late comeback wasn’t enough, however, as Aggie pitcher Rachel Fox reentered to finish the game with a strikeout and a groundout.
Fox (2-0) threw a two-hitter, fanning three batters and allowing no runs and no walks in 6 2/3 innings of work. SHSU’s Shelby Lancaster (0-1) took the loss after giving up seven earned runs on 11 hits and five walks in the complete-game effort.
Up next, the Aggies host Oregon State, Tulsa and McNeese State this weekend in the Aggie Classic. Texas A&M’s first game of the weekend is a 3 p.m. matchup with Oregon State. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.
TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH JO EVANS
On Rachel Fox’s performance…
“I thought she was terrific. You look at how she only had three strikeouts, which means she’s out there ahead of hitters, and throwing outs, and knowing what pitch she needs to throw for an out. I love that she worked ahead practically the entire night. They’re an aggressive team and they looked at hitting early in the count and she got out there and took advantage of those opportunities to get them swinging and missing early, or making contact but not right on it. I thought she looked really good.”
On the Aggie offense…
“[Nicole Morgan] is really on fire. With runners at two and three with less than two outs I thought they might end up walking Nic, but she got the opportunity to get in there and get something hit. She feels really comfortable. She’s seeing the ball really well and is really jumping on the ball. We got off to a start where we had runners in scoring position several times and we had a couple of strikeouts in those situations. You don’t want to strand runners early in the game like that, but she found a way to open the gates there and then our kids started swinging the bat.”
On Taran Tyler hitting well in the eight hole…
“Coming into this game she was leading our team in batting average but she’s still hitting down there near the bottom [of the lineup], which I love. We’re getting a lot of production out of her. We’ve got – one through nine – such a potent offense that if we can have somebody hitting in the eight hole right there that can get some RBIs and produce for all those kids who are on base, that’s going to make a big difference for us. That ball – she got all of it. It was a no-doubter for sure. She stepped up tonight and got a couple of big hits for us when we really needed it.”
On freshman April Ryan…
“I love seeing her in the two hole. I think she can do some good things. She’s good at moving runners. She lays down a perfect run, which we need in that situation, and the home run she hit was a screaming line drive. The thing was picking up speed as it hit the foul pole. I like her presence out there. She doesn’t get cheated by any means. Even the last play she made was not an easy play, with the ball sinking like that. She went out and made the catch and called it a day. She’s been really reliable for us, and really comfortable. She doesn’t look nervous in any way and she shouldn’t be. She’s playing the same game she’s played her whole life.”
On the Aggie defense…
“I thought [Amber] Garza was really tough at third base. She made a lot of plays. Taran Tyler was going and getting the ball and making plays. I’m pleased with that because I thought last year we didn’t play good defense across the board. It’s really important for us to sure it up this year. I really like the way our defense is playing, and I like the way our pitchers are throwing outs so that it gives us a chance to make plays out there.”