Texas A&M softball took on the No. 17 Georgia Bulldogs in the second game in the series on Saturday, March 18. The Aggies came up just short, losing for the second time today in a close game to the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs drew first blood in the top of the first when senior third baseman Sara Mosely sent the first pitch over the centerfield wall. After increasing the lead to 1-0, the Bulldogs got runners on first and second base with two singles. It was up to senior pitcher Shaylee Ackerman to prevent more damage from being done. She was able to recover, getting the Aggies out of the inning only down one run.
On the first pitch in the bottom of the first, sophomore infielder Koko Wooley responded with a hit to deep left field that snuck by the left fielder's glove. This resulted in a triple for Wooley and put the Aggies in prime position to tie the game. Junior catcher Julia Cottrill was on deck and hit a ball to the centerfield wall. This easily would have been a home run if not for a fantastic effort by Bulldog sophomore center fielder Dallis Goodnight, robbing the Aggies of multiple runs. The sacrifice fly did, however, score Wooley and even the score at 1-1.
The Bulldogs got a hit in the top of the second, but left them stranded at first as three outs quickly followed. With the Aggies back on offense, they got a runner on base when senior outfielder Morgan Smith was walked. Junior third baseman Rylen Wiggins then got Smith in scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. The Aggies, however, failed to take advantage due to good pitching from Georgia junior pitcher Madison Kerpics.
Ackerman started the top of the third with a very impressive play, catching a speeding grounder and preventing a hit. She then got her third strike out of the game. Things went south for her, however, as Bulldog senior designated player Jaiden Fields and sophomore catcher Lynda Rae Davis hit back-to-back home runs. The Bulldogs finished the inning up 3-1.
Freshman second baseman Amari Harper opened up the bottom of the third getting hit by a pitch. After the Bulldogs got two outs, it looked like another failed opportunity for the Aggies to capitalize on baserunners. However, junior first baseman Trinity Cannon came to the plate and proceeded to send a line drive straight over the leftfield wall. This two run home run tied the game once again at 3-3.
The fourth inning saw pitching changes for the Aggies and Bulldogs. Senior pitcher Madison Preston came in relief of Ackerman with two outs and two runners on base. She was able to get the final out and prevent the Bulldogs from retaking the lead. Georgia graduate pitcher Shelby Walters was also able to get out of a jam, as Wiggins got to third but was not able to score.
It wasn’t until the top of the sixth inning that another run was scored. Moseley once again sent a solo shot over the fence, this time bouncing off the scoreboard in leftfield. This came at sophomore pitcher Emily Leavitt, who had come in for the Aggies in the fifth inning. With the lead once again in the hands of the Bulldogs, 4-3, the Aggies came to the plate in need of an answer. Smith got the inning started with a double. She was batted in with a double by Wiggins, her second double of the day. After a walk, Harper lined into leftfield, getting an RBI. The Aggies had gone up 5-4, their first lead of the day, going into the top of the seventh.
Needing just three outs to secure the victory, the Aggies faced red hot hitters, Fields and Davis. Fields flew out to shortstop, but Davis singled into right. After a walk, the tying run for the Bulldogs was on second. Sophomore pitcher Emiley Kennedy entered the game in an attempt to save the game for the Aggies. However, back to back singles, the ladder by freshman outfielder Jaydyn Goodwin, scored two runs and allowed the Bulldogs to take a 6-5 lead.
Now, with Georgia just three outs away from the win, it came down to the 2,3 and 4-hole hitters in the Aggies batting order. The Aggies went three up three down and the Bulldogs won the game 6-5.
“That one hurts, honestly,” coach Trisha Ford said. “I thought we had good fight tonight, every time they scored, except for the last inning, we scored. I thought we answered back well. But we just, again, we just have to figure out how to win ball games.”
Ford did seem to be proud of how her team fought throughout the game, but she pointed to the experience of the Georgia team as reasons that they were able to come out on top.
The Aggies play the Bulldogs one more time on Sunday, March 19, at 1 p.m. With the Bulldogs clinching the series, the Aggies look to regroup before a midweek game against Louisiana Tech on March 22, and then a series on the road against the No. 14 Kentucky Wildcats the following weekend.
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