STILLWATER, Okla. – The No. 15 Texas A&M softball team (25-10, 5-2 Big 12) took a series victory over Oklahoma State (17-15, 2-5 Big 12) with a 7-1 win on Sunday in the conference series finale at Cowgirl Stadium.
The Aggies were 2-1 in the series vs. the Cowgirls as A&M won the first game, dropped the second and finished the trio of matchups off with a victory. The series finale started off shaky, but the Aggies finished off strong to improve to 5-2 in conference play.
“Our offense really came alive today,” head coach Jo Evans said. “I’m pleased about that. It’s no secret that I was not happy at all with our approach yesterday at the plate and our kids came out today a lot more aggressive. We also let the ball travel, we let it get to the plate. Yesterday I felt like we were out on our front foot and a little anxious. Today we really settled in and let that ball get deep and then made better contact.”
Three straight walks thrown by senior Lindsey Sisk and a single down the left-field line by OSU gave the Cowgirls a 1-0 lead with one out in the bottom of the first. Aggie junior Mel Dumezich entered to pitch and got two quick outs on a ground out and a strikeout to shut down OSU in the bases-loaded situation.
“I had to make a decision,” Evans said. “I had to get out there and put Mel in. I really think that a huge difference in the game is Mel getting out there and being able to throw strikes in the 2-0 count with bases loaded. They were going to make her throw some pitches and, to me, that was huge right there.
“That was us saying, ‘Alright, here is our ace. Let’s go. Try and beat us with bases loaded in the first inning with our ace on the mound.’ Mel went out there and just made short work of them. She was really composed on the mound and, I felt, was really comfortable out there today. And for us to get some runs, Mel gets to feel comfortable when she doesn’t have the game on the line every time a hitter comes up.”
Sisk shook off the rough first inning and stayed in the game as the A&M designated player, pounding a double down the left-field line in her first time up at the plate, in the top of the third. With one out, senior Natalie Villarreal lined a base hit up the middle and advanced to second on the throw from centerfield as Sisk slid into home for the tying run.
“[Lindsey] was a catalyst for us,” Evans said. “She just snuck that one in down the line and gets a double, and then next time up gets a hit. When I took Lindsey out, we’re ready for the next inning and she was the leadoff hitter and she said to me, ‘Coach, am I going to hit?’ and I said ‘Yeah, go ahead and redeem yourself.’ She didn’t take it personally. She smiled and she did just that.
“She got a couple of hits on the day and stole a base. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get that kid to feel good about herself and that was huge today for her to go out and do what she did at the plate, especially after she struggled on the mound. She could have been feeling sorry for herself or just lacked any confidence and she went out there and made a difference. That’s all you can ask for a kid to do.”
Junior Meagan May drew a two-out intentional walk. May’s hard-hit single down the first base line gave OSU reason to pitch around her. The junior was 2-for-2 with two runs and an RBI on the day.
Sophomore Cassie Tysarczyk slammed a laser into the wall down the right-field line behind May that sent Villarreal home from second for the go-ahead run and pushed May to third as A&M took a 2-1 lead.
Continuing the two-out rally, sophomore Nicole Morgan doubled down the left field line and picked up an RBI as May crossed the plate from third. With runners two runners in scoring position, Dumezich chipped a ball at the pitcher that she struggled to pick up as the batter reached first on the error and Tysarczyk scored an unearned run to give the Aggies a 4-1 lead.
In the top of the fifth, May hit a pitch high into left field. The outfielder got a glove on the ball at the warning track, but it bounced off of her glove and tumbled over the wall for a solo home run to push A&M further ahead to 5-1.
Senior Kelsea Orsak slung a ball into center field that the centerfielder struggled to handle as the speedy Orsak advanced to third on the two-base error. Villarreal took advantage of the situation, popping a sacrifice fly into left field to send Orsak home for the 6-1 lead.
The first pitch to May in the top of the seventh nearly hit her, going behind her back on its way by. The second pitch did hit her and she took first on the walk. Freshman Brittany Clopton entered to pinch-run before Tysarczyk angled a perfect single into the gap in center field to join Clopton on the bags.
With runners on first and second, sophomore Taran Tyler grounded into a fielder’s choice, but the third baseman dropped the ball and Clopton scored on the error. A&M left the half-inning with a 7-1 lead.
The A&M defense shut down the first two batters in the last half-inning and Dumezich caught the final batter swinging to leave Stillwater with a 7-1 victory and a 2-1 series victory over the Cowgirls.
Dumezich (17-7) threw 6 2/3 innings, striking out six batters and giving up one hit and one walk for the victory. OSU’s Simone Freeman (6-6) took the loss, giving up three earned runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings in the circle.
The Aggies continue Big 12 play on the road next weekend as they travel to Ames, Iowa for a three-game series at Iowa State. The Aggies and Cyclones will play a Friday doubleheader, beginning at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., and will end the series with a noon Saturday matchup. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com or follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.