By the middle of the third inning, the Texas A&M softball team led by seven runs, but the quick start ultimately wasn’t enough as the Aggies fell in their first SEC game of the season 11-9.
No. 10 Kentucky used a four-run sixth inning to top the Aggies at John Cropp Stadium on Saturday.
The Wildcats loaded the bases in the sixth on a single, a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Two singles and a sacrifice fly followed, allowing Kentucky to take the 11-9 win.
Despite the end result, the Aggies also had success at the plate, though theirs came early and didn’t stick around long.
In the leadoff spot, sophomore outfielder Makinzy Herzog extended her hitting streak to 12 games, landing on base with a single. She then scored on a hit from sophomore catcher Haley Lee. The Aggies’ lead increased to two before the inning was up as senior outfielder Kelbi Fortenberry drove sophomore utility player Morgan Smith home with a single.
“I thought we did a great job in attacking early,” A&M coach Jo Evans told 12thman.com. “We’re just such a better team when we can score in the first inning and put some pressure on them. We come out in the first and score two runs on them. Offensively, I thought our kids did a really nice job and fought hard.”
The Aggies allowed just one run in the bottom of the inning, maintaining their lead through the second. In the third, A&M used six hits to seemingly put the game away.
After Smith and senior first baseman Payton McBride were walked, an error allowed freshman freshman infielder Jourdyn Campbell to reach first, pushing McBride’s pinch runner sophomore outfielder Madi Jatzlau to third and scoring Smith. Jatzlau then ran home on a single by Fortenberry that loaded the bases. Junior third baseman Dani Elder capped off the inning with a grand slam to give A&M an 8-1 lead.
Evans said Elder’s homerun was key for A&M.
“I’m really excited for her,” Evans told 12thman.com. “She comes out 2-for-4 today and gets four RBI. The kid’s playing really well and doing some good things on defense for us too. I’m really happy for her. It doesn’t feel too big for her and the game hasn’t sped up for her either. Dani has come in and made the very most of hers and has played really well. She’s really an unselfish player and for her to step up in the bottom of the order is huge for us.”
It wouldn’t stay that way for long, though. In the bottom of the frame, a homerun from senior second baseman Alex Martens put Kentucky within four.
After a single RBI homerun from Lee, Martens responded with a triple in the bottom of the fourth to score three runs and put the Wildcats within two. Kentucky tacked on four more runs in the sixth for the win.