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

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

The Battalion

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Aggies sweep Texas A&M Invitational

Photo by Photo by Paul Burke

Senior Kelbi Fortenberry slides into third after hitting a triple.  She would eventually score later that inning.

Senior outfielder Kelbi Fortenberry capped off Texas A&M softball’s three-run sixth inning with a single that scored sophomore pitcher Makinzy Herzog and senior outfielder Blake-Ann Fritsch to lead the Aggies to a 5-1 win over St. John’s.
The hit was Fortenberry’s second of the game and followed a triple in the third inning that put her in position to score on a one-out bases-loaded situation as sophomore Morgan Smith was walked.
Fortenberry’s two RBIs on Sunday were her most over the 11 games of this season. She said she has struggled in her at-bats to record hits, so her focus for the game was to just focus on each pitch.
“If you look at my batting gloves, I have K-I-S-S for ‘keep it simple, stupid,’ so I just keep things simple,” Fortenberry said. “If I overthink, things like a double play or a ground ball right back to the pitcher happen, so I’m just trying to keep it simple the whole time.”
Despite Fortenberry’s struggles at the plate this season, A&M coach Jo Evans said she still trusted her hitter.
“I wasn’t worried at all because she was getting some barrels,” Evans said. “She just kept hitting it right to people. She’s done a nice job choosing when she wants to bunt, when she wants to hit away. She was due. She’s had so many RBI opportunities with [sophomore pitcher Makinzy] Herzog getting all those doubles so it’s really important she had a day where she could step up and execute.”
Sunday’s win over St. John’s completed the Aggies’ sweep in the Texas A&M Invitational as A&M moves to 8-3 on the season following their 3-2 performance in the Aggie Classic last weekend and Thursday’s 1-0 loss to McNeese State.
Though A&M’s defense allowed just one run in the game, the Red Storm caught several breaks but didn’t capitalize on the opportunities to score. Senior pitcher Kendall Potts got the start on the mound, leading the defense for 4.1 innings. She walked four batters in the second through fifth innings before sophomore pitcher Makinzy Herzog relieved her.
“We had too many walks for sure; I think four of those were four straight balls,” Evans said. “You don’t want to give up a walk on four pitches when you’re throwing well. Both of those kids threw well.”
Herzog struck out the first two batters she faced, finishing the game with six strikeouts in 2.2 innings. The sophomore also added a run and an RBI in three at-bats.
Evans said she was grateful for the three offseason additions to the Aggies’ pitching staff on Sunday.
“I like that we are in a situation pitching-wise that we can ride somebody as long as we need to and not longer and have someone come in, fresh legs and do what Herzog did,” Evans said.
The Aggies weren’t the only ones that had a high number of walked batters, though. A&M loaded the bases in the bottom of the third as Red Storm freshman pitcher Erin Brown walked sophomore catcher Haley Lee and freshman infielder Jourdyn Campbell. The Aggies got their first score of the game on the next at-bat with Brown walking sophomore utility player Morgan Smith to score Fortenberry.
Junior pitcher Kayla Kmett then replaced Brown on the mound, finishing the game with three runs on three hits allowed and one walk.
The Aggies look to carry the momentum from their five-game win streak into a five-game road series at the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, California.
“To get all five wins starts us strong in California to keep the momentum going against some top teams that we’re going to play,” Fortenberry said.
The Aggies will face Bethune-Cookman and the University of California-Davis, as well as ranked opponents No. 4 Arizona, No. 3 UCLA and No. 2 Oklahoma.
“We really needed [the five wins],” Evans said. “We were up and down last weekend and going into Thursday so we needed that to get ourselves right and different kids stepping up at different times.”

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