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The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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A&M unable to get past Florida’s offensive power

Junior%26%23160%3BPayton+McBride+was+involved+in+13+putouts+as+the+first+baseman+against+Florida.
Photo by Kaylee Cogbill

Junior Payton McBride was involved in 13 putouts as the first baseman against Florida.

On a dreary day at the Davis Diamond, Texas A&M softball fell to the No. 6 Florida Gators 8-6 despite a five-run comeback battle in the fourth.
Florida’s offense started off the day with a statement first inning.
A&M sophomore pitcher Kayla Poynter walked three of Florida’s first four batters to load the bases for the Gators.
A hit to right field by Jordan Roberts earned a run for Florida. Building on the team’s momentum, Hannah Adams, Jamie Hoover and Alex Voss all drove in runners in their at bats to give Florida the 4-0 lead.
With the bases still loaded, A&M redshirt freshman Hannah Mayo was brought in to pitch the remainder of the inning. A single hit by Hannah Sipos and two more walked batters gave Florida a 7-0 lead midway through the first inning.
Following the dramatic performance by the Gators, the Aggies struggled to match the runs.
The first inning started off sluggish, with the first three Aggies batters up earning three outs to end the inning.
Despite struggling to gain any type of momentum offensively, the Aggies defense played well, fielding challenging hits to earn valuable outs. Senior shortstop Riley Sartain made several excellent plays to earn the final two outs of the second inning and center fielder Kelbi Fortenberry closed out the third with a catch to earn the final out.
The bottom of the fourth saw A&M’s offense kick into gear. Blake-Anne Fritsch, Baylee Klingler and Payton McBride all had base hits to put three on base for the Aggies.
A walk for Dani Elder and a hit by Hayley Lee sent two home for the Aggies to put them on the board for the first time. A&M’s offense continued to be effective as they worked their way through the rotation, with Kayla Garcia and Fortenberry each batting in runs.
One of the standout performers of the day, freshman Morgan Smith, came in as a pinch hitter and continued the trend of offensive efficiency. At the end of the fourth, the Aggies had scored five runs to bring them within two of Florida’s seven.
In the fifth, Florida’s offense was stifled by good fielding from A&M’s outfielders. Hannah Sipos’ home run, the only run earned off A&M pitcher Mayo on the day, proved to be a bright spot for the Gators and gave them a three run lead over the Aggies.
In the sixth inning, A&M’s Klingler cut into the Gators lead again, sending a runner home to earn a run for the Aggies.
With the Aggie defense finding their groove and their hitters falling into a rhythm, A&M saw the chance of a comeback.
Despite their best efforts, the deficit created in the first inning proved to be too great for A&M to overcome in the remaining innings. Florida took the victory 8-6, bringing their season record to 34-9 and 7-6 in SEC play.
A&M head coach Jo Evans said despite the loss, she was proud of her players for fighting back and making the adjustments necessary to stay in the game.
“I was pleased with our hitters. We went through first round at bats and get one hit out of our lineups,” Evans said. “The great thing was we stuck to our plans. We didn’t divert or panic. We stuck with what we came to do and I thought we settled in and hit through our line up and it made a big difference for us tonight.”
Mayo, who pitched 6.2 innings and one earned run, praised her teammates dedication and efforts on both offense and defense coming into the series.
“The way that we left that game shows we are ready for tomorrow and Sunday and ready to take this one [series],” Mayo said.
The three-game SEC series will continue Saturday at 6 p.m. at Davis Diamond. The two teams will conclude the series on Sunday with a 12 p.m. first pitch.

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