COLLEGE STATION, TX -- Home runs helped the 16th-ranked Texas A&M softball team (32-14, 12-6 Big 12) to a 10-2 run-rule and its first series sweep of the season, over No. 25 Baylor (28-17, 5-11 Big 12) in the conference series finale Tuesday at the Aggie Softball Complex.
Four Aggies cleared the fence in the winning effort, including junior Brittany Walker who hit her career-first home run, a bomb that topped the wall in center field in the bottom of the fifth.
“At the plate, every one of [our players] looked threatening,” head coach Jo Evans said. “They got some great at-bats and hit throughout the lineup. Our kids really attacked the ball tonight and were really aggressive at the plate.”
Senior Natalie Villarreal led off in the first inning with a third-pitch home run over right field to nab an early 1-0 lead over the Lady Bears.
The scoring didn’t stop there. In the bottom of the second, sophomore Nicole Morgan and Walker each used base hits to reach before a double that rolled to the right field wall by senior Kelsea Orsak scored both for a 3-0 lead.
The Aggies stretched to a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth. Morgan led off with a single to shallow centerfield before her pinch runner, freshman Kaydee Rayburn, was thrown out as Walker reached on a fielder’s choice.
“I thought Nic was really great tonight,” Evans said. “Nic just looked really comfortable at the plate tonight. We were just hitting throughout the lineup tonight.”
Baylor picked up its only two runs of the game in the top of the fifth as a home run by catcher Clare Hosack narrowed the score to 5-2.
A&M was back at it in the bottom of the inning, however, and a pair of home runs pushed the Aggies out to an 8-2 lead.
A first-pitch leadoff homer by sophomore Amber Garza in her first game back from a nagging injury went over the wall down the right-field line.
“Garza hasn’t been in the lineup for about a month now and to come back and look so good at the plate, you could tell right away that she was seeing the ball well,” Evans said. “It worked out perfectly that she had all that time. That kid’s been in the pool, she’s been in the trainers’ room all week getting herself ready to go.”
Morgan took advantage of an error at first to reach base with no outs before Walker went yard for the first time of her career.
“I’m pleased with the way our kids played tonight,” Evans said. “Brittany Walker is not supposed to hit one out. When she went out of the lineup before she got injured, she was on fire. She was driving the ball in the gaps. She did a good job tonight getting herself a couple of hits, and that home run especially.”
The run-rule ended in the bottom of the sixth with the Aggies’ fourth home run of the night. Sophomore Cassie Tysarczyk reached on a walk before junior Mel Dumezich powered a ball well over the fence to give the Aggies a 10-2 run-rule victory in six innings.
Dumezich (24-9) also led the Aggies from the circle, throwing eight strikeouts in six complete innings of work while allowing two earned runs on four hits. Baylor’s Courtney Repka (14-9) took the loss after giving up five earned runs on six hits and walking two in 2 2/3 innings pitched.
“You could see [Baylor’s] game plan early-on was to be aggressive and try to hit early in the count and [Mel] just went out there and made quick work of them,” Evans said. “She just really settled in. She had one pitch that got away from her and that’s when it got out of the park but I thought she was really outstanding tonight.”
A&M hosts No. 7 Texas Thursday at 6 p.m. on ESPN2 in the first game of the three game series between the two teams in the State Farm Lone Star Showdown. The Aggies and Longhorns will then play game two in Austin, Saturday on FSN and the series finale Sunday on the Longhorn Network. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com or follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.