COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The 21st-ranked Texas A&M softball team (13-7) broke its 34-game home winning streak on the second day of the Texas A&M Invitational, falling to Houston (10-8) before defeating No. 24 Nebraska (10-10).
The Aggies dropped a heartbreaker to Houston in game one, falling 3-2, and ending a home winning streak that began on April 25, 2010 and extended through the entire 2011 season. A 4-1 victory over the Cornhuskers in game two puts the Aggies’ record at 3-1 on the weekend.
“We did a good job taking advantage of a couple of errors that [Nebraska] made,” head coach Jo Evans said. “It’s nice to see our kids bounce back from a really disappointing loss. I thought Mel [Dumezich] went out there and did everything we asked her to do. I’m excited for the win in the second game but really disappointed that we couldn’t do a better job to win that game against Houston.
“Having said that, I thought Houston came out and did a good job. That’s the best that they’ve played since I’ve been watching in this tournament. They made all of the plays defensively and took care of the ball. But when you go out there and get 10 hits and draw some walks, you should win a game.”
The loss to the Cougars was hard fought as A&M worked to rally from an early one-run deficit.
Three consecutive singles by the Aggies in the bottom of the first loaded the bases before a sacrifice fly out by junior Meagan May scored sophomore Emily Albus for a 1-0 lead.
The Cougars used four base hits of their own to score a pair of runs and take the 2-1 lead in the top of the third inning. Four more singles in the fifth gave stretched Houston’s lead to 3-1 as the Aggies struggled to close the gap.
May came through again for the Aggies in the bottom of the sixth, sending a single down the left field line. May was replaced on the base paths by freshman Brittany Clopton who took second on a sacrifice bunt. A Mel Dumezich single put Clopton on third before a laser to left field by sophomore Nicole Morgan scored Clopton to narrow the deficit to 2-3. Morgan went 2-for-3 on the game with one RBI.
The horizon looked bright as a leadoff single by Albus in the bottom of the seventh put speed on the bases. The sophomore was 3-for-4 on the game with a run scored. A sacrifice bunt sent Albus to second but the left fielder could go no further as the Aggies dropped their first game at the Aggie Softball Complex in almost two years.
Senior Lindsey Sisk (4-3) threw 4 1/3 innings for the loss, fanning four batters while giving up three earned runs on five hits. Houston’s Ty’Ara Law (1-1) tossed three strikeouts in seven complete innings, allowing two earned runs on 10 hits.
The Aggies shook the loss quickly, jumping into the matchup with 24th-ranked Nebraska with confidence.
The fast recovery paid off as A&M took a 1-0 lead after the first inning. Junior Brittany Walker singled to left-center with one out and took advantage of a fielding error at second base to speed home. Walker was a perfect 3-for-3 on the game with a trio of base hits.
The Aggies struck again in the bottom of the second when Dumezich, who had reached on a single through the left side and took two bases on another Nebraska error, scored an unearned run on a sacrifice pop out by sophomore Amber Garza.
Expanding on their 2-0 lead, the Aggies jumped ahead to 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth. May led off with a single to right-center and took second on a sacrifice bunt. With one out, Dumezich dropped a bomb on the wall in left field before it toppled out for a two-run home run.
Nebraska got its only look of the game in the top of the fifth when a double to right-center pulled the score to 4-1. Albus and Walker had singles in the bottom of the inning but the score remained as it was through the end of the game and the Aggies won their second-and-final scheduled matchup with Nebraska this season.
Dumezich (8-4) threw seven complete innings, fanning six batters and giving up just one earned run on three hits. Husker hurler Ashley Hagemann (6-8) gave up two earned runs on seven hits in six innings of work.
The Aggies close out tournament play tomorrow with a 12:15 p.m. game vs. Houston. Fans can follow the live audio broadcast on their smartphones or any HD radio at 95.1-3 The Zone HD. Go to RadioAggieland.com to download the app. To watch and listen to the game live, log on to AggieAthletics.com.