COLLEGE STATION – Texas A&M Softball rode a three-run fifth inning and a stellar pitching performance by Kendall Potts to defeat No. 18 Arkansas, 3-1, in the series opener at Davis Diamond Saturday.
In the circle Potts (11-10) earned the win, throwing a complete game allowing one run on seven hits and three walks while fanning five. She worked out of an early jam as Arkansas (34-16, 8-11 SEC) loaded the bases in the first inning. Potts escaped unscathed with a double play and a strike out.
The Maroon and White claimed the lead in the bottom of the fifth highlighted by Kayla Garcia’s RBI single which drew first blood. Texas A&M (26-21, 4-15 SEC) tacked on two more runs on a wild pitch and an error.
Payton McBride posted her eighth multi-hit game of the season as she went 2-for-2 with a double and a single.
The Aggies played flawless defense as they turned two double plays to stymie the Razorbacks’ offense.
B5 | With one out Blake-Ann Fritsch reached on an infield single and tagged up on Morgan Smith’s foul out to the catcher. After Kelbi Fortenberry walked, Kayla Garcia laced a single through the left side to drive in Fritsch. A wild pitch with runners on the corners plated Fortenberrry. Garcia scored from second base on a fielding error by Arkansas’ shortstop on Baylee Klingler grounder. A&M 3, ARK 0
T6 | Katie Warrick recorded an infield hit to the shortstop and came around to score on a Haydi Bugarin ground out to second base. A&M 3, ARK 1
Top Offensive Players:
Payton McBride | 2-for-2, BB
Kayla Garcia | 1-for-3 RBI, R
Haley Lee | 1-for-1, HBP, SH
Kendall Potts (11-10) – W, 7.0 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K
WHAT THEY SAID
Head Coach Jo Evans
On what the difference was for the team…
“I thought our mentality was different. We’ve talked a lot about just being more aggressive in the way we play the game. Having a little more swagger out there on the field and playing with some confidence, I thought our team did that. We’ve talked about it a lot this week and challenged the team. I was proud of the way we played the game tonight. I think you saw a different mentality out of our team and we expect to come out and win, and we did that.”
On the importance of getting a double play with the bases loaded in the first inning…
“It was huge that we got the double play right there. Kendall Potts does a great job throwing a ground ball and Haley Lee has got a cannon behind the plate. We were able to get a double play right there and shut it down. I thought that was a huge point in the game because if that gets away from we could have started to get discouraged early. We talked a lot about making routine plays and that was a routine play for us. I thought our defense all night was very good. We made the routine plays and then we made some nice plays. A couple of double plays on the night. Riley Sartain I thought played a great shortstop for us and Kayla Garcia at second did a great job.”
Freshman Infielder Kayla Garcia
On drawing first blood with an RBI single…
"I just think I slowed the game down for myself, and made sure I made contact. I was looking for an outside pitch, and that’s exactly what she threw me.”
On Blake-Ann Fritsch’s close play at the plate…
"I trust Blake Ann Fritsch’s speed. I knew she was going to make it. Coach is sending her for a reason, so I was pretty confident.”
The Aggies and Razorbacks square off Sunday at 7 p.m. The game can be seen on SEC Network.
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