HONOLULU, Hawaii – The No. 21 Texas A&M softball team (18-8) defeated Winthrop (11-12), 8-2, Thursday on day two of the Chevron Spring Fling Tournament at the Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
“Our kids did a really great job, all the way down to the bottom of the order, of taking care of business,” head coach Jo Evans said. “Taran Tyler, Amber Garza and Cassie Tysarczyk did a really great job. I love seeing them going to all fields and going with pitches. They’re just really spark plugs out there. Natalie Villarreal stepped up early for us. It’s nice to see us get a comfortable lead.”
Smart offensive play by the Aggies and illegal pitches by Winthrop in the top of the first put A&M ahead by one run. Senior Natalie Villarreal reached base on a walk, thanks to a pair of illegal pitches, and stole second before taking third on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Emily Albus. A third illegal pitch in the same inning sent Villarreal home for the 1-0 lead.
The Aggies pulled ahead to a 4-0 lead in the top of the second on three base hits and a double. Sophomores Taran Tyler and Cassie Tysarczyk each singled with one out to put runners on first and second. Tyler went 2-for-3 and scored one run on the day.
An RBI double by sophomore Amber Garza scored Tyler before a two-out single up the middle by Villarreal earned a pair of RBI as Tysarczyk and Garza rounded third and crossed home. Tysarczyk was 3-for-4 on the day with two runs scored and Garza was 2-for-3 with three runs scored.
Villarreal hit her second two-RBI single of the day in the top of the third that scored Tysarczyk and Garza, who had reached on a single and a walk, respectively. Junior Sydney Shannon led off in the third with a walk and scored on a base hit that was shot down the left field line by senior Kelsea Orsak. The Aggies left the inning with bases loaded and a 7-0 lead over the Lady Eagles.
Winthrop put two blemishes on the Aggies’ spotless score in the bottom of the sixth in the form of a pair of home runs.
Leading 7-2 in the top of the seventh, the Aggies pulled back up to an 8-2 lead. A leadoff double to left-center field put Garza on second before the sophomore third baseman took third on a wild pitch. With one out, Villarreal grounded out to the first baseman and gave Garza time to tag and run home for her third run of the day.
Freshman Kayla Klein (1-0) earned the victory after throwing four complete innings of relief, giving up two earned runs on three hits while walking two. Winthrop’s Chelsey Schoenfeldt (5-6) suffered the loss when she allowed four earned runs on four hits in 1 2/3 innings of work.
“When Kayla first went out there, she was missing high almost every pitch,” Evans said. “I’m demanding in the sense that I have high expectations for our kids and for Kayla. That kid that I recruited was a bulldog out there on the mound and a real fighter, so when she gets the opportunity to go out there, I expect her to be throwing strikes early and mixing up her pitches. She’s fighting herself a little bit out there but I felt like she really went out there and took care of business for a couple of innings and looked good and mixed her speeds.”
The Aggies face host school and 18th-ranked Hawaii (22-1) tomorrow at 11:30 p.m. CST. Follow the live action on 95.1-3 The Zone HD. Visit RadioAggieland.com to download the app or listen live. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com.
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