COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Junior Mel Dumezich broke her career strikeout record as the No. 15 Texas A&M softball team (3-2) fell, 6-3 to Northwestern (2-3) in extra innings Sunday at Farrington Stadium in the final day of the Kajikawa Classic.
"I feel like this game didn't need to be that close," head coach Jo Evans said. "You give up a two-run home run in the first inning, OK, we bounce back. I like the way we scored right away - got one in the second and one in the third and gave ourselves a little bit of a cushion but in the end we've got to be a lot smarter than that. I thought our approach at the plate was terrible."
The Wildcats took an early 2-0 lead with a one-out home run over center field in the top of the first, but Dumezich fought to get out of the half-inning and fanned the final two batters.
In the bottom of the inning senior Natalie Villarreal led off with a single into the center field gap. A well-placed sacrifice bunt by junior Brittany Walker gave Villarreal time to advance to second as Walker reached on the fielder's choice. Both runners were left stranded, however, and the Wildcats retained their 2-0 lead.
A pair of singles by NU in the top of the second threatened the Aggie defense but Dumezich struck out the side to amass five strikeouts through two innings.
Six Aggies reached base in the bottom of the third as Northwestern pitcher Amy Letourneau walked four batters. Sophomore Nicole Morgan and senior Lindsey Sisk took first and second on four balls before Morgan was replaced at second by sophomore Kaydee Rayburn.
Sophomore Cassie Tysarczyk took a pitch to the middle of her back to load the bases behind Sisk. With one out, Dumezich put a ball in shallow left field that the shortstop used to tag Sisk on her way to third as Rayburn scored and Dumezich earned an RBI as she tied the score at 2-2.
The A&M defense retired nine straight batters from the fourth inning through the seventh, and in the bottom of the sixth the Aggies drew a walk in sophomore Amber Garza. Garza was replaced on the base paths by freshman Brittany Clopton. Clopton took second on a groundout but was unable to reach home.
In the bottom of the seventh Walker placed a single up the middle but was stranded on first as the game entered extra innings. The Wildcats capitalized on the international tiebreaker, scoring the runner who was placed at second base on a single up the middle. With two outs and two on, Letourneau homered down the left field line, pushing three runs home as Northwestern took a 6-2 lead.
In the final half-inning, Sisk entered to run at second base for A&M and took third on a wild pitch before sophomore Cassie Tysarczyk hit a sacrifice fly to send Sisk home for the 3-6 run. Pinch hitter Emily Albus beat a bunt single with one out and was sent to second on a single through the right side by Garza. Albus stole third but both runners were left stranded through the final two outs as the Wildcats earned a 6-3 upset victory.
Dumezich (2-0) broke her career game record with 13 strikeouts on the day. The junior allowed five earned runs on six hits in seven innings. Letourneau took the win, fanning nine Aggies while giving up two earned runs on four hits.
Farrington Stadium is where A&M ended its 2012 season in the NCAA Super Regional, falling to eventual National Champion Arizona State.
The Aggies return home for a Wednesday game vs. Sam Houston State at 4:30 p.m. CST at the Aggie Softball Complex. A&M will then host the Aggie Classic, Friday through Sunday, in College Station. To learn more about the A&M softball team, log on to AggieAthletics.com.