LUBBOCK, Texas – Sophomore Cassie Tysarczyk was 6-for-6 on the day with two walks as the No. 16 Texas A&M softball team (31-13, 11-5 Big 12) swept a midweek doubleheader with No. 24 Texas Tech (34-12, 7-7 Big 12) Tuesday at Rocky Johnson Field.
A&M snapped the Red Raiders’ 13-game home winning streak with a 9-6 win in game one. The nine runs by the Aggies were the second most allowed by Texas Tech this season. A&M earned nine run in game two, also, defeating Texas Tech with a 9-0 run-rule shutout.
“We knew we were going to have to come here and score runs because they score runs,” head coach Jo Evans said. “I told our ballclub, ‘We may be in a situation where they score runs early so we’re just going to have to keep pushing, keep scoring, keep being aggressive and putting pressure on their defense,’ and our kids did just that. I thought we were terrific at the plate today in both games. We did a really nice job of taking our walks. I thought our discipline at the plate was very good and our kids really competed up there.”
The Aggies jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first on an RBI single to left-center field by Tysarczyk. Senior Natalie Villarreal and sophomore Emily Albus, who had both reached on perfectly-placed infield singles, scored on the play.
Texas Tech responded with an RBI single of its own, popped into shallow center field to narrow the A&M lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the first.
Tysarczyk came through again in the top of the third, sending a double into right-center field that scored Albus from second for her second unearned run as the Aggies took a 3-1 lead. Albus had reached on an error.
“[Cassie] was Texas Tech’s worst nightmare,” Evans said. “She was seeing the ball so well, and what a great job she did in two-strike counts when she got rid of some pitches. It didn’t matter, that kid got just enough of the ball to get rid of some pitches and then dig in there and swing the bat. They just did not have an answer for her today and I thought she showed tremendous patience up there at the plate.”
A&M stretched to a 5-1 lead in the top of the fourth on a pair of RBI singles. Junior Brittany Walker reached on a base hit and took second on an illegal pitch before a single to left field by senior Lindsey Sisk sent Walker home for the 4-1 run. Sisk also scored from second, on a one-out single through the right side by Villarreal after taking second on a sacrifice bunt by senior Kelsea Orsak.
Tysarczyk led off in the fifth frame with a walk before a two-out single to left field by Walker, her second of the game, gave the right fielder time to fly home from second.
A pair of singles and a home run down the right field line by Tech in the bottom of the fifth kept the Red Raiders in the game as they narrowed to 6-4 in the Aggies’ favor.
In the top of the sixth, Villarreal grounded but was called back to the plate due to an illegal pitch by TTU pitcher Ashley Brokeshoulder. On the next pitch, Villarreal doubled into left-center field. She was joined on base by Albus, who hit an infield single that sent Villarreal to third base before stealing second to put two runners in scoring position. Albus was 2-for-4 on the game with three runs scored, while Villarreal went 3-for-4 and scored two runs.
On Tysarczyk’s third hit of the day in as many at bats, she sent a ball through the left side to send Villarreal and Albus home. Tysarczyk later stole second, took third on an illegal pitch and stole home for the 9-4 run. Tysarczyk was 3-for-3 in game one, and picked up five RBI while scoring two runs.
Tech never stopped fighting, loading the bases in the sixth before an RBI single sent two in to bring the score to 9-6. The two runs were all they got through the end of the game, however, and A&M took game one to lead the series, 1-1.
Junior Mel Dumezich (22-9) earned the win, striking out five batters and giving up four earned runs on eight hits in seven complete innings of work. Texas Tech’s Cara Custer (20-8) suffered the loss after allowing one earned run on five hits in 3 1/3 innings pitched.
“It was a crazy game one,” Evans said. “I thought the difference in the game was when they got the three-run home run to put them close to us and we went right back out that next inning and scored three runs. We matched it. That’s when I felt like, ‘OK, we can do this.’ They just did such a good job to keep coming back at us. We had a couple of missed cues but I have a lot of respect for them. Their hitters are aggressive and they do a nice job. But I’m really proud of our kids in that first game to hang on to that, and of Mel [Dumezich] to hang on to that and finish it.”
The Aggies kept the momentum going into the second game and took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third. A one-out double by Villarreal and an error by the Red Raiders sent the second baseman home for the lead.
Three more runs in the top of the fourth pushed the A&M lead out to 4-0. Dumezich led off in the frame with a double to right field and was followed on base by Walker, who singled to left field and took second on a throwing error. Walker’s single pushed Dumezich home for the 2-0 lead.
A double to center field by Orsak scored Walker before a two-out Emily Albus single sent Orsak in for the four-run lead.
In the top of the fifth, Tysarczyk and sophomore Nicole Morgan each singled before walks by Walker and Orsak pushed Tysarczyk home for the 5-0 lead. An error by the Texas Tech shortstop put Villarreal on first and sent sophomore Allison Garrett, pinch running for Morgan, across the plate.
With A&M holding a six-run lead and bases loaded, Albus took a pitch to the body that pushed Walker home for the 7-0 lead.
Tysarczyk continued to reach base in the top of the sixth, taking four balls to get to first before running to second on a sacrifice bunt by Morgan. With one out, Dumezich sent a ball down the right-field line that bounced off of the top of the wall and fell over for a two-run home run that gave the Aggies a 9-0 lead.
Tech was unable to answer with a run of its own and the Aggies ended the doubleheader with a two-game sweep.
Freshman Lauren Ainsley (3-0) threw the complete-game shutout, tossing four strikeouts and giving up just three hits in six innings of work. TTU starter Brittany Talley (10-3) took the loss after giving up four earned runs on 10 hits in four innings in the circle.
“[Lauren] was terrific,” Evans said. “She was better than any pitcher that threw out there today. She just kept her composure. She kept throwing ground balls for us and I thought our defense was especially good for Lauren. They made a lot of nice plays, they had some assists, they got lead runners out. I just thought she did a great job to keep the ball in the infield, keep the ball in the park and give us a chance to make plays defensively. She kept their hitters off-balance and I thought she was very, very good. She had some walks but she got herself right back in it. In that last inning she came from behind and threw enough strikes to roll some outs out there.”
The Aggies and Red Raiders play the series finale tomorrow at 5 p.m. That game will be broadcast live on 95.1-3 The Zone HD. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com or follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.