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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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A&M softball survives close scare from Lamar in 3-2 win

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Photo by Robert O’Brien

Freshman Katie Dack (7) celebrates with her teammates after scoring in the bottom of the third in Davis Diamond on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

Following one of the biggest series wins in program history over the weekend against then-No. 2 Alabama, Texas A&M softball had plenty of positive energy coming into a midweek matchup with Lamar. In an attempt to harness that momentum into another win, the maroon and white were not as crisp as one would expect.
The Aggies came into the non-conference matchup at 26-18 on the season, and the Cardinals came in at a lowly 9-30 on the season. On Wednesday night at Davis Diamond, things were a little too close for comfort down the stretch.
A&M sent freshman southpaw Emiley Kennedy and her sterling 2.25 ERA into the circle to face a starting lineup for the Cardinals that had no player with a batting average north of .300. The Cardinals started senior right-hander Aaliyah Ruiz and her respectable 3.90 ERA, and she would oppose an Aggie lineup in possession of five hitters with batting averages higher than .300.
Kennedy worked around a one-out hit batsman for a scoreless first inning. The Aggies got on the board in the first with some help from the Cardinal defense. A&M senior right fielder Morgan Smith laced a single to left field and advanced to third on a two-base error. A&M sophomore third baseman Trinity Cannon drew a throw from Lamar junior catcher Felixia Hinojosa during a successful steal of second, allowing Smith to steal home and give A&M a 1-0 lead.
Kennedy had two Cardinal batters reach with two outs in the second inning, but picked up a strikeout to end the threat. The Aggies left one at third in the second and came up empty.
Lamar again put a pair of ducks on the pond in the third inning, but Kennedy induced a groundout to second to once again strand a pair of Cardinals. A&M freshman catcher Katie Dack — reigning SEC Freshman of the Week — clubbed a two-run home run near the flagpoles in center to give the Aggies a 3-0 lead after three innings of play.
Kennedy issued a one-out walk in the fourth inning, but that was all in a scoreless frame. Ruiz bounced back in the fourth, allowing only one baserunner to keep it a three-run game.
Lamar had a runner in scoring position with no outs in the fifth inning, but a 3-5 double play turned by A&M senior first baseman Haley Lee on a foul-out extinguished any momentum the Cardinals were attempting to conjure up. Kennedy retired her last batter faced with a pop-out to shortstop. The Aggies had their first two batters reach in the fifth, but Ruiz collected back-to-back fly outs before striking out A&M sophomore second baseman Rylen Wiggins to end the inning.
The Cardinals were able to scrape across a run in the sixth inning against new A&M sophomore pitcher Grace Uribe, as Lamar freshman pinch-runner Kalyn Xayaseng scored on an error by Cannon with two outs. A&M went down in order in the sixth — the first 1-2-3 inning of the game for either team.
Lamar made it interesting in the seventh inning, as they loaded the bases thanks to another two-out error by Cannon. A&M senior right-hander Makinzy Herzog was then called upon to put the fires out, and despite hitting Lamar junior designated player Hannah Kinkade to drive in a run, she recorded a fly out to center to secure her second save of the season and the 3-2 win for the Aggies.
“[Makinzy Herzog] went out there, and the game was on the line, and we had to have her,” A&M coach Jo Evans said after the game. “Herzog has been a warrior for us.”
Kennedy walked three, but left many Cardinals on base en route to five scoreless innings with five strikeouts. She earned the win to improve to 9-7 on the season. Ruiz pitched all six innings for Lamar and collected six strikeouts, but she got the loss to drop to 7-16 on the season.
Smith reached base three times, scored twice and was the only player in the game with multiple hits. Ultimately, Dack’s two-run shot in the fifth ended up providing the difference in the game.
“Katie Dack goes up there with an opportunity to get us some RBIs and does that,” Evans said. “She just keeps getting better and better.”
Overall, the lackluster performance is something the Aggies are ready to put behind them.
“I think we just leave this game where it is and just move on,” Dack said. “Start getting our mindset right for Missouri.”
A&M will hit the road for a series against No. 25 Missouri from Friday, April 29 through Sunday, May 1 at Mizzou Softball Stadium in Columbia, Mo. First pitch for Game 1 with the Tigers is set for 6:30 p.m. on Friday, and the game can be viewed on SEC Network+.

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