COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 21 Texas A&M softball team (28-13, 9-8 SEC) suffered its first Southeastern Conference run-rule loss as 4th-ranked Tennessee (34-6, 10-4 SEC) took a 15-2, five-inning win Saturday in the second game of a three-game SEC series. The Aggies and Lady Volunteers faced off in front of 1,589 fans, ranking No. 13 on the all-time attendance list at the Aggie Softball Complex. With the series tied at 1-1, the Aggies and Lady Vols will play at noon CT Sunday to decide the series victor on ESPNU.
Tennessee hit a school-record five home runs against the Aggies on the way to the run-rule win. The Lady Vols added 10 base hits, two doubles and a triple to the tally as they put up 18 hits on the day and scored 15 runs in three innings. The Aggies had not seen the losing end of a conference run rule since 2010.
Texas A&M struck first with an RBI fly out from senior Nicole Morgan in the bottom of the first. The sacrifice hit came after some sharp base running from speedsters Emily Albus and Brittany Clopton. The pair led off with back-to-back bunt singles and were in scoring position in time for Morgan’s RBI fly ball. Albus scored the 1-0 run on the play.
A third-inning solo home run from senior Cassie Tysarczyk was the Aggies’ only run of the day as the Texas A&M lineup struggled through a four-hit production. Tysarczyk’s blast over right-centerfield sailed well out of the complex and gave the Aggies a glimmer of hope after UT put up five runs in the top half of the inning.
Freshman Reagan Boenker also had a hit on the day, a base hit through the left side in the bottom of the second inning.
With Texas A&M trailing 5-2, Tennessee jumped out to a nine run lead after the fourth, and the Aggies couldn’t stop the bleeding. The Lady Vols added another four runs in the top of the fifth, and retired the side in the bottom of the inning to clinch the run-rule win.
Texas A&M starter Katie Marks (12-3) suffered the loss after allowing five runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out four through three innings of work. Tennessee reliever Rainey Gaffin (5-2) earned the win, tossing 2 1/3 perfect innings with three strikeouts.
The Aggies and Lady Vols will close out the series Sunday with a rubber match at noon CT on ESPNU. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.