Softball vs Arkansas

Junior Kelbi Fortneberry celebrates after scoring on a pass ball.

Davis Diamond saw two tired offenses in a late 8 p.m. first pitch on Saturday.

Texas A&M softball suffered through four and a half scoreless innings against No. 18 Arkansas, notching three runs on six hits before snapping their six-game losing streak with a 3-1 win.

A&M head coach Jo Evans said her team had worked on being more aggressive, and their ability to execute that was key to the night’s win.

“We need to put pressure on teams,” Evans said. “We did that, and I was really pleased to see our kids step up. I thought our kids overall played the game with more confidence — that’s what we need.”

The Aggies put points on the board in the fifth inning as freshman second baseman Kayle Garcia scored junior outfielder Blake-Ann Fritsch from a single. A wild pitch then followed to bring in junior outfielder Kelbi Fortenberry from third base and give the Aggies a 2-0 lead.

Fritsch barely scored on Garcia’s hit as the ball made it back to the Arkansas catcher just after Fritsch touched the base. Garcia said she wasn’t worried about where she was hitting the ball, and instead knew she just had to notch a hit for Fritsch to score.

“I trust Blake-Ann’s speed,” Garcia said. “I knew she was going to make it [home].”

Freshman Baylee Klingler then stepped up to the plate, knocking a single to shortstop, who muffed the throw to first base, allowing Garcia to score and extend the lead to 3-0.

After the Aggies’ three scored runs, Arkansas sophomore pitcher Mary Haff replaced junior Autumn Storms on the mound. Haff walked two batters to give the Aggies a bases loaded situation, though it didn’t matter as the next batter fouled out.

Arkansas had several opportunities to score runs, though they were unable to get any momentum, loading the bases twice. The Razorbacks ended the night with only one run on seven hits.

Early in the first inning, Arkansas managed to load the bases, but a double play aided A&M in sending the Razorbacks back to the dugout.

Evans said the double play was one of the most important plays in the game, and was something the team had worked on during the week.

“[If] that gets away from us, you can start to get discouraged,” Evans said. “We talked a lot about making routine plays, and that was a routine play.”

The Aggies escaped early scores by Arkansas due to their pitching. Junior Kendall Potts ended both the first and second with strikeouts.

Potts said she took responsibility for the Razorbacks’ offense fire in the first and adjusted her pitching to halt their progress. She ended the night with five strikeouts.

“Bowing up and throwing strikes,” Potts said. “I wasn’t doing that before. I just needed to bow up there.”

The key to A&M’s win was the Aggies’ ability to stay positive regardless of the plays that were happening, Potts said.

“We just had fun,” Potts said. “There’s times where if we play good games, we kind of tighten up a little bit — we just left it loose.”

Evans agreed the team’s attitude was different in this game than in those prior.

“We’ve talked a lot about being more aggressive in the way we play the game,” Evans said. “Having a little more swagger out there on the field; playing with some confidence. I thought our team did that.”

The Aggies will continue the three-game series with the Razorbacks at 7 p.m. on Sunday.

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