AUBURN, Ala. – The 23rd-ranked Texas A&M softball team (31-19, 9-14 SEC) lost a 6-0 game at No. 22 Auburn (36-14-1, 9-11 SEC), Saturday in game two of a three-game Southeastern Conference series at Jane B. Moore Field. With the win, the Tigers take a 2-0 advantage on the series heading into Sunday’s final game.
The Aggies had just three hits on the day with one apiece in the first three innings. Senior Amber Garza had the team’s only extra-base hit of the day, a second-inning double.
The Tigers took an early 1-0 lead with a first-inning solo home run over left field. Texas A&M loaded the bases in the next half-inning, but all three runners were left on base. Garza led off with a double pounded to right center, and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from senior Jenna Stark. A pair of walks by senior Taran Tyler and freshman April Ryan filled the bags but the Aggies were unable to produce a run.
Texas A&M put a runner in scoring position again in the top of the third, but was unable to get on the board.
Auburn stretched to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the inning when a pair of RBI base hits plated three runs in the frame after a hit-by-pitch and a double put runners on base.
A two-run fourth inning by the Tigers made it a 6-0 ballgame for the home team. Each of Auburn’s six runs were plated on RBI singles.
The Aggie defense made a couple of big plays on the night, including the team’s 10th pickoff of the season and second of the weekend. The play ended the second inning as senior Nicole Morgan hurled a throw to Ryan at second base.
In the bottom of the sixth with a runner on base and just one out, Stark stabbed a line drive and tagged first to double the runner off and end the inning with her ninth double play of the season.
Sophomore Katie Marks (13-5) started the game and threw two complete innings for the loss, allowing four earned runs on four hits and two walks while striking out one. Lauren Ainsley closed the game with four frames of relief. The junior fanned three batters and allowed two earned runs on five hits and two walks.
Auburn’s Marcy Harper (16-3) earned the win after tossing four strikeouts and giving up three hits and four walks in the shutout.
The series finale between the Aggies and Tigers is set for a 1 p.m. CT first pitch Sunday. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.
HEAD COACH JO EVANS
On leaving runners on base…
“It’s just so critical to take advantage of those early opportunities – the ones where they go out and score a run and we answer right back to say ‘Hey, we’ve got this’. It shows the other team that we’re in control, we feel comfortable whether we’re behind or ahead, and we just didn’t step up and take advantage of the opportunity to get right back in the ballgame.”
On hitting against Marcy Harper…
“We really struggled. She kept the ball up and I didn’t feel like we were on time all day. We just couldn’t get comfortable in the batter’s box. We’ve got to be better. I’m frustrated because last we had such a great approach at the plate. Even though we didn’t come through with the win, I felt good about our hitters. I thought they did a nice job. Every one of them throughout the lineup really locked in and hit the ball hard. And then we come out today and we’re late, we’re not on time and we’re not settled into the box. We’re an inconsistent team right now and you can see that offensively.”