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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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Aggies split doubleheader with Oklahoma and Minnesota

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Photo by Robert O’Brien

Sophomore P/OF Grace Uribe (8) passes on a pitch at Davis Diamond on Saturday, May 7, 2022.

While fans saw two contrasting levels of offensive production from the Texas A&M softball team in its doubleheader on Saturday, May 21, the grit and perseverance that the Aggies have exhibited all season long was clearly visible.
A&M opened Day 2 of the NCAA Tournament’s Norman, Okla., regional against defending national champion and top-ranked Oklahoma, mustering up only three hits in the 3-2 loss. The Aggies then responded with a 10-7, come-from-behind victory versus Minnesota in an offensive outburst at Marita Hynes Field.
Not only did the win against Minnesota send A&M to the regional championship, but it served as the 1,300th career win for A&M coach Jo Evans — just the ninth Division I softball coach in history to reach the milestone — since beginning her head coach career in 1986.
“I’m overwhelmed a little bit,” Evans said. “It’s a big number, and it only happens because of the players who play hard and give everything they’ve got and staff members that I’ve worked with for so many years. [I’m] just really grateful to be able to coach. Tonight was special, and the way we won it made it even more special.”
The Sooners wasted no time getting on the scoreboard to open the day, as sophomore center fielder Jayda Coleman blasted a leadoff home run off sophomore starter Grace Uribe. Oklahoma then rattled off two singles and an RBI double to take a 2-0 lead before an out was recorded.
As redshirt senior ace Hope Trautwein kept the Aggies’ bats quiet, the Sooners added an insurance run in the fourth inning with an RBI double by Coleman to take a 3-0 lead. After taking over in the circle following the first inning, senior Makinzy Herzog held Oklahoma, the national leaders in batting average and home runs, to just one run in three innings with three strikeouts.
The Aggies brought the game within a run in the sixth inning, as the team’s top hitter, senior catcher Haley Lee, blasted a pitch to left field for a two-run jack, just the second homer given up all season by Trautwein. Lee accounted for two of the team’s three hits, while freshman left fielder Cayden Baker supplied the other.
“[That’s] Haley [Lee] doing what Haley Lee does,” Evans said. “She’s a great leader for us and steps up there in a really big moment to put us within striking distance.”
While the maroon and white had an upset on their minds, their bats went cold in the seventh inning, falling to the crimson and cream 3-2.
“Every weekend is a fight and it’s a grind,” Lee said. “Having played one of the toughest schedules in the SEC, we’re here, and we’re ready to fight and do whatever it takes. I’m very proud of this team. We fought until the end, and we’re going to continue to fight to the end.”
Looking to end the day on a high note, the Aggies jumped to a quick 1-0 lead against Minnesota with an RBI single by freshman catcher Katie Dack that scored Lee from second base. Minnesota would respond in a big way in the bottom of the frame, tallying four runs, three of which were unearned, on five hits off of junior starter Shaylee Ackerman. Ackerman lasted just 0.2 innings before Herzog entered the circle, inducing a flyout to end the inning with the bases loaded and the Golden Gophers on top 4-1.
Minnesota tacked on a run in the bottom of the third with a sacrifice fly, but not before Herzog helped her cause with a home run to left field to bring A&M within three at 5-2. However, the Golden Gophers responded in the bottom of the inning with a home run by senior center fielder Natalie DenHartog.
The Aggies keyed their comeback with a monster six-run sixth inning that saw the team rattle off four consecutive hits before a two-run homer by Dack. Baker and Herzog each had RBI doubles while sophomore second baseman Rylen Wiggins smacked a two-RBI single. Once the dust settled, A&M was on top 8-6. Herzog’s hit was her third of the game, as the Florida State transfer finished a triple short of the cycle.
“I’m super proud of my team,” Herzog said. “I thought we’d been playing good all day. Just like in the Oklahoma game, we started off a little slow, but then the ball started to finally fall our way. We never stopped fighting, and we brought the energy every pitch.”
A passed ball allowed Minnesota to tack on a run and cut the Aggies’ lead in half in the bottom of the sixth, but a two-RBI single by sophomore first baseman Grace Uribe in the seventh added insurance for a 10-7 A&M lead. A day after a stellar starting performance against the Golden Gophers, freshman lefty Emiley Kennedy closed out the game with two strikeouts in the bottom of the seventh. Kennedy earned the win, her thirteenth of the season, after pitching three innings and allowing just one unearned run with four strikeouts.
With the victory, the Aggies will rematch with the Sooners in the regional championship at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 22. Should A&M win, there will be a winner-take-all game 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game 1, while a loss will end the Aggies’ season.

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