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Softball Splits Opening Day Doubleheader on Day One of the Texas A&M Invitational

Published: Feb. 20, 2021 at 10:48 PM CST
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BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas Texas A&M softball opened its 2021 campaign on day one of the Texas A&M Invitational with a 9-0 win against Central Arkansas via the run rule, followed by a narrow 7-6 loss to Colorado State on Saturday at Davis Diamond.

Haley Lee crushed it in the batter’s box against Central Arkansas, launching three home runs in as many at-bats and earning a whopping five RBI. The Kingwood, Texas, native was the first Aggie to record three home runs in a game since Tori Vidales did so on May 17, 2017, against Tennessee.

Shaylee Ackerman went 2-for-3 with an RBI while Makinzy Herzog finished 1-for-2 with a solo home run. Ackerman ended the game with a walk-off single that drove two runners home and put the finishing touches on the 9-0 victory. The hit was A&M’s first fifth inning walk-off since Herzog’s double on Feb. 15 of last season against Binghamton.

In the circle against the Bears, Herzog pitched a complete-game shutout and tied her career high in strikeouts with seven set during her time at Florida State. The Missouri City, Texas, native allowed a mere four hits in her five innings of play.

A&M then transitioned to the nightcap against Colorado State, falling to the Rams in a close 7-6 affair. The Maroon & White opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning with a pair of runs, but a six-run second inning from CSU proved to be an insurmountable advantage. The Aggies would add a pair of runs in the third inning, but Colorado State added a solo shot in the top of the fifth to expand its lead. Lee’s fourth home run of the day would score a pair and bring A&M within one, but the Rams retired the rest of the Aggie lineup to secure the win.

Kelsey Broadus started her first game as an Aggie against CSU and recorded 1.2 innings pitched. Freshman Grace Uribe made her collegiate debut as a reliever beginning in the second inning, finishing with an impressive seven strikeouts while only surrendering three hits and one earned run in 5.1 innings of play.

KEY INNINGSvs. Central Arkansas

B1 | Makinzy Herzog recorded a walk in her first at-bat, followed by A&M’s first home run of the season belted towards the scoreboard in left field courtesy of Haley Lee. A&M 2, UCA 0

B3| Shaylee Ackerman doubled to left centerfield and advanced to third on a Herzog flyout. Kelbi Fortenberry grounded out to the second baseman, and Ackerman scored in the process. Lee launched her second home run of the evening into right centerfield on the next at-bat. A&M 4. UCA 0

B5| Herzog blasted a solo home run over the centerfield wall, and Fortenberry reached first base on a walk. Then, in her third at-bat of the evening, Lee clobbered her third straight home run over the fence in centerfield with no outs on the board. Jourdyn Campbell walked and advanced to third on a Morgan Smith double to left field. Jourdyn Campbell and Trinity Cannon loaded the bases on walks, and Ackerman singled down the left field line to send Morgan Smith and Taudrea Sinnie home, who pinch ran for Campbell, warranting the invocation of the run rule. A&M 9, UCA 0

vs. Colorado State

B1| Makinzy Herzog walked and Kelbi Fortenberry reached first base on a fielder’s choice. Fortenberry promptly stole second and scored on a Colorado State throwing error which saw Haley Lee reach second. Jourdyn Campbell walked, and Morgan Smith sent a sacrifice fly to centerfield which allowed Lee to score. A&M 2, CSU 0

T2| Tara Shadowen doubled to right centerfield and Ashley York sent Shadowen home on a triple. Brooke Polenz singled through the right side to drive York home and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Ashley Michelena tripled to left field, scoring Polenz, with Jordan Acosta singling up the middle on the very next play to drive Michelena home. Danielle Serna walked, and both Acosta and Serna advanced on a wild pitch. Corina Gamboa completed the Rams scoring run, singling up the middle and driving Acosta and Serna home. A&M 2, CSU 6

B3| Fortenberry pelted the ball to right centerfield and peeled off around the base path to record a stand-up triple. Lee continued her reign in the batter’s box with a double down the third baseline to complete Fortenberry’s trip around the bases. Jourdyn Campbell grounded out, allowing Lee to advance to third. Morgan Smith drove Lee home on a double to left field to complete A&M’s two-run inning. A&M 4, CSU 6

T5| Gamboa hit a solo home run over the left centerfield wall. A&M 4, CSU 7

B7| Herzog opened the bottom of the inning with a walk, and Lee ripped the cover off the ball for her fourth home run of the day, sending a shot deep over the right centerfield wall. Colorado State retired A&M’s remaining batters to earn the win. A&M 6, CSU 7

Top Offensive Players:

vs. Central Arkansas

Haley Lee| 3-for-3, 3 HR, 5 RBI

Shaylee Ackerman| 2-for-3, 2 RBI

Makinzy Herzog| 1-for-2, HR, RBI

Morgan Smith| 1-for-3

vs. Colorado State

Haley Lee| 2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI

Kelly Martinez| 2-for-3

Morgan Smith| 1-for-3, RBI

Kelbi Fortenberry| 1-for-4

Pitching Breakdown:

vs. Central Arkansas

Makinzy Herzog (1-0) – 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 7 SO, 0 BB

vs. Colorado State

Kelsey Broadus (0-1) – 1.2 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 2 ER, 3 SO, 2 BB

Grace Uribe – 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 7 SO, 0 BB

WHAT THEY SAID

Head Coach Jo Evans

Opening Statement…

“We saw some good things out of our team today. Offensively, we competed well. We had lots of quality at-bats, got some big hits in key situations. Defensively, on the day, I was pleased. I thought we were a little jittery to begin with, but made plays that we were supposed to make. Obviously, dropping the popup behind home plate in the second inning [against Colorado State] hurt us. Our kids came back though, and we fought hard. I thought Grace Uribe came in and was terrific in the circle. She went out there and really competed and did some good things. In game one, [Makinzy] Herzog was firing on all cylinders, and holy cow, Haley Lee was just on fire. I mean, that doesn’t happen very often. I saw a lot of positive things; disappointed to lose that game [against Colorado State], for sure, but I do think that there are a lot of things that happened today that I feel that we can improve on.”

On what Haley Lee’s performance today shows about her mentality…

“I’ve been so excited to see how she [Haley Lee] has matured as a hitter. Haley is becoming a really savvy and smart hitter. She is starting to understand what pitchers are going to throw her. She’s understanding counts in situations and thinking through a plan. That takes a really intelligent hitter. When you see a kid in her first at-bat of the season pole a homerun; I don’t even think it was spinning, it was like a knuckleball or something. She just got ahold of it and hooked it. Then in the next at-bat, she goes up there, and she hits a changeup to the opposite side of the field. You’re not supposed to hit a changeup opposite field, you’re supposed to pull that. For her to do that, and then turnaround in the next at-bat to go dead center, that’s impressive. It’s also really impressive that when the game was on the line, this kid comes up and hits another home run to bring the tying run to the plate. What she did today speaks volumes to how hard she worked at becoming a hitter.”

On Makinzy Herzog and Grace Uribe’s pitching performances today…

“I thought [Makinzy] Herzog did a good job early on, just pounding the strike zone. She got them to chase a bit, and her changeup looked good. [Grace] Uribe, I thought that she just looked really good. The thing about her, and I think people are going to learn as the season goes on, is that she is very, very competitive. That’s a freshman out there in her first opportunity. She gave up a hit against her first batter and then shut them down. One hitter got her with a home run. I like what I see out of Grace. She is smart, and she learns, so I think that we are going to see good things out of her.”

Junior catcher/utility Haley Lee

On her feelings after today’s games…

“Today was just a great day to be back on the field. It was a fun experience being here with the team and getting to face other pitchers. We were able to talk through a plan again and see a mixture of pitches out there.”

On how she plays for her team…

“It is a great feeling to get out here and put all my hard work on display. Also knowing that this is more than me and more than a game, this is for my team. We win together and loose together. Being able to put everything I have into this game for them is special.”

On her excitement to start the season…

“It was really exciting. I woke up at 5:30 this morning, just like if I was seven years old again and it was Christmas morning. I was so excited that it was finally here, since it’s been almost a year since we’ve seen live play. Our excitement and nerves were here, trust me.”

On her expectations moving forward…

“I feel like every day and game will be different from the last. I just want to move forward in a positive way and build off of what I did today.”

ON DECK

The Aggies continue action in the Texas A&M Invitational, with the Maroon & White squaring off against Colorado State at 12:30 p.m. rematch, followed by a 3 p.m. first pitch against Texas Tech.