COLLEGE STATION – Texas A&M softball concluded the Aggie Classic with a 10-6 win against Abilene Christian Sunday afternoon at Davis Diamond.
The Wildcats plated three runs in the first inning before extending their lead to 6-2 in the fifth, highlighted by Blair Clayton's second home run of the day.
The Aggies answered back with a run in the bottom of the first from Meagan Smith's fielder's choice to score senior Kelbi Fortenberry. Haley Lee drove in a solo run off her double to the wall. Things clicked for the Maroon & White during the fifth inning, as they displayed a strong offensive performance. Freshman Jourdyn Campbell tied the game with her base clearing grand slam, making this the first of her career. Shaylee Ackerman followed with a triple, and home runs by Makinzy Herzog and Morgan Smith shut the door on the Wildcats.
Ashley Daugherty earned her first career start in the Maroon & White to cap the weekend. Senior Kendall Potts stepped in for 4.1 innings allowing three runs on three hits and five strikeouts. Kayla Poynter tossed 2.2 innings in relief and fanned four to be awarded the win to move to 2-0 on the season.
T1| Briana Tijerina walked and scored on Caroline Adair's double to start the game. Blair Clayton delivered a two-run home run, plating Adair, giving the Wildcats an early three-run lead. ACU 3, A&M 0
B1| Kebli Fortenberry touched home after Meagan Smith's fielder's choice to put the Aggies on the board. ACU 3, A&M 1
B3| Makinzy Herzog led off the inning with single up the middle and was plated home on Haley Lee's double to right center. ACU 3, A&M 2
T5| Clayton belted her second home run of the day to give the Wildcats a three-run advantage. ACU 6, A&M 2
B5| Jourdyn Campbell cleared the bases with a grand slam after the aggies loaded them up from two walks and a fielder's choice. Shaylee Ackerman added a run with her triple off the wall and a throwing error advanced her home. Pinch hitter Morgan Smith drove in a pair of runs with her blast over the right field wall. Herzog belted one of her own to straight away center adding another. ACU 6, A&M 10
Top Offensive Players:
Jourdyn Campbell | 2-for-3, HR, 4RBI
Makinzy Herzog | 2-for-3, HR, RBI
Morgan Smith | 1-for-1, HR, 2RBI
Kayla Poynter (2-0) – W, 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 K, 1 BB
Kendall Potts – 4.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 5 K, 1 BB
Ashley Daugherty – 0.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 K, 2 BB
WHAT THEY SAID
Head Coach Jo Evans
On how she felt after the eight-run half inning in the bottom of the fifth…
"I'd be lying if I didn't say I felt relieved. Then of course, exhilarating, because our kids are so young. Now we get to put that in our back pocket for the rest of the season. Anytime we're in a deficit, we always have that experience to go back to and say, 'listen, we're fully capable of being an explosive offense and getting ourselves back in the game.' So it's really such a valuable experience for our players."
On Jourdyn Campbell's ability to improve after a mistake…
"I'm obviously really proud and excited about the home run, but the fact that she had the base running mistake and she drops the ball at second. She could have just pouted and been weak minded about it. She could've just taken herself out of the game, and she really didn't do that. She's had so many quality AB's [at bats] this weekend, and in particular, two strikes and two outs. That kid, she's showing that she's clutch."
On closing the tournament with a win, after taking a pair of losses…
"No coach wants to drop a couple of games in the opening tournament. That's disappointing, but I'm pleased with the way we came back today. What I see in our team is a lot of room for growth. It's not the kind of thing where it's like, 'geez, if we had a stronger arm here, or if we had a better athlete here.' It's when we grow in the game, learn the game better, when we get better at our base running, when we get more composed. Those kinds of things are going to make a big difference for us. Those are things that are in your control. I'm excited about that."
On moving on to their next tournament…
"Well, we're going to work on base running a lot. We're going to get better. Come hell or high water, we're going to get better at base running. We're taking runs off the board with our base running mistakes. We'll get better at that; we'll make that a focus. Recovery is going to be big. When you play five games in a weekend, it's certainly a wear and tear on our kids. Our recovery is going to be important."
Freshman shortstop, Jourdyn Campbell
On her grand slam at bat…
"In the inning before my last at bat, I had the error on defense and the base running mistake. I was coming with a calm mindset but I knew I needed to help my team. I wanted to be big for them and create momentum. I knew she was going to come inside, because I had kept taking it as a strike. I just went in and swung at it."
On being able to put her mistakes past her and move forward…
"I usually start to take deep breaths, to calm down and remember my teammates have my back. They know that they have done their job and now it's time to do mine."
On her first home run ended up being a grand slam…
"It means the world to me. It's already hard enough to get your first home run as a freshman. To come through in that situation I feel happy, happy that I was there for my team and I did what I needed to do."
On her early success…
"We do a lot of vision work, vision training specifically. When I am up to bat I kind of just rely on my eyes. I have to see it and be able to take my swing. So I can slow everything down and take it back to the basics. I think that's why I am having so much success, just really simple and basic for me."
The Aggies return to action Thursday, Feb. 13 at 6 p.m. in the first midweek contest of the season against McNeese at Davis Diamond.