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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Aggies run-ruled by Gators in regular season finale

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Texas A&M infielder Amari Harper (13) stands on the plate during Texas A&M’s game against Houston at Davis Diamond. on Tuesday, April 23, 2024. (Rocio Salgado/The Battalion)

No. 8 Texas A&M softball managed to strike first against the No. 9 Florida Gators, but after the Aggies’ comeback attempt was derailed by a controversial officiating decision in the sixth inning, it was Florida sophomore C Jocelyn Erickson who ended things with a bases-clearing, walk-off double to seal the run-rule victory and the series sweep for Florida as A&M fell 11-3 in its regular season finale on Sunday, May 5 in Gainesville, Florida.

Down 6-1 headed into the bottom of the sixth, the Aggies quickly got their leadoff batter on base thanks to sophomore 3B Kennedy Powell’s single up the middle. After a flyout, a walk and a pair of RBI singles from graduate CF Jazmine Hill and senior C Julia Cottrill, the Aggies cut the lead down to three with the tying run at the plate in junior SS Koko Wooley with just one out.

Then things got interesting: Wooley hit a fly ball into shallow right field that just cleared the infield dirt. Florida’s outfielder lost the ball in the sun and it fell to the turf, and it appeared Wooley reached first on a fielder’s choice, Cottrill was thrown out at second, and Hill had moved to third — at least that’s what the Aggies thought.

Florida’s defense began to leave the field like the half-inning was over, and the Aggie coaching staff demanded an explanation and challenged the call — quite vocally, in the case of assistant coach Russ Heffley, who was ejected during the confusion. Upon further review, home plate umpire Marty Abezetian had singled for an infield fly as the ball was in the air, and Cottrill didn’t notice the call being made behind her back.

That call meant Wooley was out and Cottrill had unknowingly advanced at her own risk, and when she was tagged out the play became a double play that ended A&M’s at-bat.

Florida was quick to make sure A&M didn’t get another chance at a comeback.

A two-run homer from senior RF Kate Kistler in her first at-bat of the game widened the gap back to five and put the hosts back at ease. That ease quickly turned to euphoria with Erickson’s bases-clearing, walk-off double sending A&M back home with nothing to show for its trip to the Sunshine State.

Stranding Alone

The final score doesn’t show it, but A&M out-hit Florida 11-8 — it just couldn’t put the runs on the scoreboard like the Gators did.

Most of A&M’s offensive production came late in the inning, as the Aggies went 6-for-12 with two outs already on the board. The hits are nothing to complain about, but that style of offense runs a hefty risk of leaving runners stranded on base — which proved to be the difference in the game. A&M left 11 runners stranded, while Florida left a mere two.

For its part, Florida showed why its offense is top-10 in the country in runs per game, batting average and home runs. It batted a whooping .600 with runners on base and had 11 runs to show for it.

Now the Aggies’ focus turns towards the SEC Tournament in Auburn, Alabama. A&M had a shot at a share of the SEC regular season conference title this weekend, but slipped down to third in the conference standings after the series loss to the Gators.

But now that the postseason has arrived, all that matters is chasing that next championship.

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About the Contributor
Ian Curtis
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter
Ian Curtis is a journalism freshman from College Station, Texas. Ian has written about football, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball, hockey, gymnastics, volleyball and more for The Battalion. Ian's work has also appeared in The Bryan-College Station Eagle and over the airwaves on WTAW and BCSball.com. 
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