LEXINGTON, Ky. – A strong pitching performance by Kayla Poynter and an explosive offensive performance by the Aggies, propelled Texas A&M to a 6-3 victory over No. 10 Kentucky on Sunday evening at John Cropp Stadium. The Aggies improve to 16-8 and 1-1 in the SEC, while snapping the Wildcats’ seven-game win streak, as Kentucky drops to 18-4 and 1-1 in the conference.
Poynter shut down the Kentucky offense allowing five hits on three runs, only one of which was earned, while fanning two. The Loganville, Georgia, native pitched her third complete game and earned her sixth win of the season.
The Aggies scored six runs, three of which were solo home runs over the course of seven innings, while outhitting the Wildcats 9-5.
Makinzy Herzog recorded her 10th double of the season to get the Aggies started. A&M got on the board first after Haley Lee ripped a single to left center to bring in Herzog, registering her 17th RBI of the season. Payton McBride walked and Kelbi Fortenberry recorded her 22nd hit to load the bases. Dani Elder would add to A&M’s lead with a two-out RBI single to put the Aggies on top 2-0 in the first.
Kentucky would get one across in the bottom of the second. Gabi Deters walked and Kayla Kowalik brought her home with a triple to right center. Kowalik leads the nation in triples with eight.
The Aggies took their two-run lead back in the top of the third with Fortenberry’s double to the right center wall. Ashlynn Walls drove the first pitch she saw right up the middle, as Fortenberry used her speed to cross home safely, putting A&M ahead 3-1.
A&M’s offense exploded in the fourth with back-to-back solo bombs by Morgan Smith and Lee to give the Aggies a 5-1 lead. The sophomores both belted their fourth homers of the year.
Lee continued to shine at the plate, blasting her second home run of the game in the sixth, as the Aggies added to their lead 6-1.
The Wildcats pulled within three after an A&M fielding error and a home run in the bottom of the sixth. That would be all for Kentucky, as they stranded a runner at third in the seventh to end the game, 6-3.
T1 | Herzog doubled to right center and was plated after a Lee RBI single to left center. McBride walked and Fortenberry loaded the bases after singling to the shortstop. Elder singled through the left side to score Lee. A&M 2, UK 0
B2 | Gabi Deters walked and Jaci Babbs pinch ran for Deters. Babbs stole second and Kayla Kowalik tripled to right center to score Babbs. A&M 2, UK 1
T3 | Fortenberry doubled to right center and Campbell was hit by a pitch. Walls singled up the middle and Fortenberry scored. A&M 3, UK 1
T4 | Morgan Smith and Lee hit back-to-back home runs to left field. A&M 5, UK 1
T6 | Lee belted her second homer of the game. A&M 6, UK 1
E6 | Mallory Peyton reached on an A&M fielding error. Gabi Deters homered to centerfield. A&M 6, UK 3
Top Offensive Players:
Haley Lee | 3-for-4, 2 HR, 3 H, 3 RBI
Kelbi Fortenberry | 2-for-4, 2 H, 1 R
Morgan Smith | 1-for-2, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Kayla Poynter (6-2) – 7.0 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 SO, 4 BB
WHAT THEY SAID
Head Coach Jo Evans
On the fight the team showed tonight…
“I’m really proud of our kids and happy for them. We came out again in the first inning and put up a couple of runs. Herzog has just been on a roll, getting a double and then she ends up scoring. I thought our kids had really quality at bats – looking for certain pitches they want to hit, being patient and being aggressive when those times come. I’m really proud of the way our offense played. Overall, I’m just really happy, especially for us to put a complete game together. We’ve been talking about our mentality at the plate. The same players who are at the plate are also on defense, so let’s take that mentality out on defense and in the circle. I thought our kids did that tonight.”
On Kayla Poynter in the circle…
“I’m really proud of her. She did have some walks and got behind in the count, but she managed to get her way back. That kid didn’t get tired at all. I thought she got better as the game went on. She was just in a really good tempo and the way she’s throwing out there has been fun to see. I thought her presence on the mound was great. She’s really athletic and maybe a lot of people don’t know that about her, because they just see her pitch. She’s very athletic and she’s just gotten better and better. Her composure in the circle tonight was exactly what our team needed. I think we fed off of her and how she managed that game.”
The rubber match against the Wildcats is set for 6 p.m. (CT) tomorrow at John Cropp Stadium.
Fans can follow the Aggies wherever they go by following @AggieSoftball on Instagram and Twitter or on Facebook at Facebook.com/TAMUSoftball.