COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The 21st-ranked Texas A&M softball team (28-14, 9-9 SEC) dropped a 5-3 game to No. 4 Tennessee (35-6, 11-4 SEC) Sunday, as the Lady Volunteers took a 2-1 Southeastern Conference series win. The game was broadcast live on ESPNU from the Aggie Softball Complex.
The Aggies put up a series-best six hits on the Lady Vols, with six different players contributing to the tally. Texas A&M was ahead early, after a three-run second inning, but a late surge by Tennessee pushed the visitors to a series victory with the two-run win.
A leadoff triple from senior Nicole Morgan in the bottom of the second inning got things started offensively for the Aggies. Morgan’s shot seared down the line in right field and, with one out, sophomore Breanna Dozier chopped a ball up the middle to send Morgan home for the 1-0 lead.
Freshman April Ryan added another base hit, down the left-field line, after Dozier’s at-bat. With two outs, freshman Reagan Boenker used Texas A&M’s fourth hit of the inning to send Dozier and Ryan across the plate for a 3-0 advantage.
Senior Cassie Tysarczyk reached on a double to left field in the third and was joined on base by classmate Jenna Stark, who drew a walk. The pair was left stranded after the third out.
The Lady Vols scored their first run of the game in the top of the fourth inning on a base hit that sent a runner home from second. Aggie left fielder Brittany Clopton grabbed the ball off the hop and quickly threw it to Ryan at second base, who dove and tagged the batter out as she attempted to stretch the base hit into a double.
Tennessee took the lead in the top of the fifth on a home run over left field. The three-run shot gave the Lady Vols a 4-3 advantage.
The Aggies loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning, but were unable to capitalize on the opportunity as Tennessee turned a double play at the plate to end the fifth.
After both teams went down in order in the sixth, the game entered the final inning with UT leading by just one run but a solo home run over left-center field gave the Lady Vols the insurance run they were looking for. Three straight outs for the Aggies in the bottom of the inning ended the ballgame as Tennessee took a 5-3 win in the game and a 2-1 series victory.
Redshirt junior Rachel Fox (11-7) suffered the loss after allowing five earned runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out five batters in the complete-game effort. UT’s Ellen Renfroe (23-3) took the win, giving up three earned runs on six hits and three walks with six strikeouts in seven innings.
Up next, the Aggies will host Sam Houston State in a single game, Wednesday at 6 p.m., before facing No. 6 Florida in a 3-game SEC series next weekend. Friday and Saturday’s contests will be broadcast live from the Aggie Softball Complex on ESPNU. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.
HEAD COACH JO EVANS
On the loss…
“[Rachel Fox] wasn’t as sharp today as she was Friday night. She got the ball up a little bit. Actually, not on that particular pitch that they hit the home run. But I just felt like she wasn’t really as fine. She wasn’t as sharp in her accuracy in terms of location and spotting pitches. She didn’t work ahead as much on the hitters today. But it’s a tough situation when you get up there and throw a changeup and they hit the line drive over the wall. That really hurt us when we give up that home run in the seventh inning. All of a sudden it’s a two-run game and it’s a whole different story on strategy and what you’re thinking. So, we keep the ball in the yard and it’s a different ballgame today, but we certainly had our opportunity and we didn’t make the most of it.”
On the early lead…
“I was really pleased with the bottom of our order. It was great to see Dozier get out there and get a big RBI. There were some really good things in that inning and I was pleased with that. Our bottom of the order – we just needed them to step up – and we had our opportunity in the fifth inning and let it get away from us. To me, the difference in the game is in the fifth inning, [the Lady Vols] were set up for a great opportunity and they made the most of it. The kid hits a long ball, a timely hit, and they get three runs. We’re in the same situation right there in the next half-inning, and we don’t take advantage of it. Shame on us. We had our opportunity. It was a great opportunity for us. Jenna actually hit the ball hard, she just hit it right at the third baseman.”