COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Aggie softball team (8-3) celebrated the conclusion of the Texas A&M Invitational with a 5-1 result against the St. John’s Red Storm (2-8) Sunday afternoon at Davis Diamond.
After a quiet start through the first two innings, the Aggies hung a pair of runs on the board in the bottom of the third, instigated by a Kelbi Fortenberry triple to right-centerfield. Multiple walks loaded the bases for A&M, and Ashlynn Walls brought Madi Jatzlau in on a sac fly to give the Aggies a 2-0 lead.
The Red Storm responded quickly in the top of the fourth with Kalei Sorensen sending an RBI double to the centerfield wall, bringing Gretchen Bowie in for St. John’s first run of the afternoon to cut the Aggie lead down to 2-1.
A pitcher’s battle ensued, with sophomore Makinzy Herzog taking the mound in the fifth inning in place of Kendall Potts. The sophomore standout allowed no hits, no runs and struck out six batters in 2.2 innings pitched. Potts finished the afternoon allowing just one run in 16 at-bats. The Red Storm starting pitcher Erin Brown walked five batters and was pulled in the second inning after allowing a walk with the bases loaded. Kayla Kmett finished the game for St. John’s, allowing three runs and three hits while striking out one batter.
A&M took flight in the bottom of the sixth, with Walls, Fortenberry and Star Ferguson each registering hits to increase the lead for the Maroon & White. After an uneventful top of the seventh, the Aggies left Davis Diamond victorious with a 5-1 victory in preparation for their trip to California.
With the win, the Aggies improve to 8-3 while St. John's falls to 2-8. Texas A&M has started with an 8-3 record or better through the first 11 games in every season since 2009.
B3| Fortenberry cranked a triple to right-centerfield, followed by a Haley Lee walk. Jourdyn Campbell loaded the bases with one out after taking four balls. Morgan Smith was also walked, bringing Fortenberry home for the Aggies’ first run. Walls had a sac fly to left field to bring home pinch runner Madi Jatzlau. A&M 2, STJ 0
T4| After a Gretchen Bowie walk, Kalei Sorensen doubled to centerfield, bringing in St. John’s first run of the day. A&M 2, STJ 1
B6| Walls sent a double deep into left-field, and advanced to third on a Payton McBride sacrifice bunt. Meagan Smith pinch hit for Dani Elder and walked. Herzog brought Walls home on a fielder’s choice, followed by a 2 RBI single to right field by Fortenberry. A&M 5, STJ 1
Top Offensive Players:
Kelbi Fortenberry | 2-for-4, 2 H, 2 RBI
Ashlynn Walls | 1-for-2, H, RBI
Jourdyn Campbell | 1-for-2, H
Star Ferguson | 1-for-1, H
Kendall Potts (2-1) – W, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 K, 4 BB
Makinzy Herzog (SAVE) – 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 6 K, 2 BB
WHAT THEY SAID
Head Coach Jo Evans
On the biggest takeaways from today’s game…
“I like that we are in a position pitching wise that we can ride some pitchers as long as we need to and not longer, and have somebody come in with fresh legs and do what [Makinzy] Herzog did. We had plenty of opportunities with our kids. We are very happy with the inning we had, and we stayed in the game. Overall, I am pleased. We came out with no errors on defense, which I have been waiting to see, that was nice too. We did a better job of getting outs when we could get outs and not trying to make something happen that is not there.”
On the pitchers and defense’s performance today…
“Way too many walks for sure. I think four of those were four straight balls. You don’t give up a walk on four straight pitches when you are doing well. Both of those kids threw well. I thought we did manage the base runners really well. We didn’t panic, we didn’t press, and again we made routine plays.”
On Fortenberry’s key hits and where she is at this year…
“She was getting some barrels and kept hitting it to the right people. I think she has done a nice job choosing when she wants to bunt, and when she wants to hit away. She was due, she had so many opportunities, so it was important that she had a day where she could set up and execute.
On the momentum with five straight wins moving forward to next weekend…
“We really needed that. We were up and down last weekend and going into Thursday. For us to get ourselves right and winning a lot of different ways was nice. Different kids stepping up at different times, different pitchers at different times. I think it was really important. We used a lot of players too. I think that we have done a good job of using our depth and putting ourselves in the best case scenario. I am happy about that. Going into Palm Springs it’s going to be a really tough schedule for us, but it’s nice having a little momentum going in.”
Senior Outfielder Kelbi Fortenberry
On her offensive performance…
“Coach Snider and I were talking about it and I told him I was going to find a jar and put 25 cents in each time I hit a hard ball. So we’ll see how much money I will have at the end of the year. I hadn’t been too worried about my at bats because eventually the hard swings I am taking are going to fall, just like what happened today.”
On her last two at bats today…
“If you look at my batting gloves I have “KISS” written on them, which means ‘Keep it simple stupid’. When I start overthinking, things like double plays and easy groundouts tend to happen.”
On where the team is at…
“I feel like we’re doing pretty good, but we have a lot more learning to do. We are a young team and I am starting to see people get comfortable and that is exciting. We don’t want to peak too early, so I’ll be waiting to see where we are at towards the end of the season.”
On the team’s momentum heading into next weekend…
“I think these wins are huge, since last weekend we weren’t able to pull out all the wins in our games. Picking up all five this weekend is going to give us that push before heading to California to play some top ranked teams.”
The Aggies hit the road for the first time this season, as the Maroon & White head to Cathedral City, California to take part in the Mary Nutter Classic from Feb. 20-22.
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