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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

Dack powers Aggies to 5-4 win over LSU

Photo by Cameron Johnson

Senior pitcher and outfielder Makinzy Herzog (24) prepares to leave second base in Davis Diamond on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022.

With one swing of the bat, freshman Katie Dack salvaged the weekend for the Texas A&M softball team.
To set the scene, the Aggies found themselves trailing No. 21 LSU 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning with senior right fielder Morgan Smith and sophomore catcher Mayce Allen aboard after reaching on a double and a single, respectively. In came Dack, pinch-hitting for junior center fielder Star Ferguson.
After taking the first two pitches, Dack clobbered the 2-0 offering from freshman pitcher Raelin Chaffin over the camera tower in center field, giving the Aggies a 4-2 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish en route to a 5-4 win over the Tigers.
“I was looking for something outside, something I could drive to bring runners in,” Dack said. “I took [two] balls and knew she had to come at me with a strike, and she did, and I just put my best swing at it.”
Entering the contest on Sunday, April 10 at Davis Diamond, A&M found itself looking to salvage the series after falling to LSU 2-1 on Friday and 11-8 on Saturday. The win improves the Aggies’ record to 24-16 overall, while the team sits near the bottom of the SEC at 3-9 in conference play.
A&M’s pitching was a back-and-forth affair itself, with freshman pitcher Emiley Kennedy starting on the mound for the Aggies. Kennedy pitched through the first three innings, allowing two unearned runs on four hits, one walk and three strikeouts. Senior Makinzy Herzog, after starting the game as the designated player, took over to begin the fourth inning, going three innings and giving up a run on one hit, three walks and two strikeouts. Both Herzog and Kennedy would then make appearances in the seventh to close out the game.
Apart from Dack, senior first baseman Haley Lee, freshman shortstop Koko Wooley and Allen all led the Aggies offensively, recording two hits apiece. Lee got the A&M offense going in style in the bottom of the first, smashing a solo homer over the scoreboard in left field to give the team an early 1-0 lead. Lee’s 2-for-3 performance improves her batting average to an eye-popping .481 this season, with Wooley hitting an excellent .375 herself.
The Tigers quickly responded to Lee’s home run in the second inning, as a double by senior designated player Shelbi Sunseri followed by an A&M error and wild pitch put runners on the corners with no outs. In the next at-bat, the Aggies’ defense recorded a fielder’s choice by tagging Sunseri out at home, but not before the Tigers added a run on an RBI fielder’s choice by redshirt junior catcher Morgan Cummins. LSU’s leadoff batter, sophomore third baseman Danieca Coffey, then smacked an RBI sacrifice fly to help the Tigers gain the lead.
The Aggies would threaten with a pair in scoring position in the third inning after a single by Lee and a double from sophomore third baseman Trinity Cannon, but a diving catch by LSU’s redshirt sophomore center fielder Ciara Briggs would neutralize the threat.
The A&M offense capitalized on its opportunities in the next inning when Dack smashed her three-run homer, putting the Aggies on top, 4-2. The hit parade would continue, as freshman left fielder Cayden Baker knocked a single to left field before Lee was hit by a pitch, and Wooley singled to load the bases with no outs. After the Tigers recorded an out at home on a fielder’s choice, Cannon hit into a fielder’s choice of her own in which Lee was forced out at home. However, Wooley and Herzog each made heads-up plays on the ensuing throw to first by scoring and advancing to third. Wooley’s steal of home made it a 5-2 ballgame by the end of the fourth inning.
Following brief fifth and sixth innings, LSU mounted a comeback attempt in the top of the seventh, starting with a leadoff walk from Herzog. After the walk, Kennedy returned to the game to strike out the next two batters before giving up a two-run bomb to redshirt sophomore shortstop Taylor Pleasants, shortening the lead to just a run. A&M coach Jo Evans then sent Herzog back into the circle, where she pitched into a fielder’s choice to record the final out.
While the victory helps the Aggies avoid being swept, A&M is still searching for its first SEC series win of the season. Nonetheless, Evans talked about the importance of the day’s win and what it says about the team’s determination and grit.
“It was really important for us to get a win,” Evans said. “What you see out of our ball club is a lot of fight; these kids don’t quit. For our pitchers to go out there and give us a chance to win a ball game, I thought Haley Lee really set the tone by going up there and getting a home run in the first at-bat of the game and Katie Dack with a big pinch-hit home run. I’m proud of them.”
Dack echoed Evans’ sentiment about the team’s perseverance and resolve.
“The win was very needed,” Dack said. “I’d say it says a lot about our team’s fight that we’re able to come back, and we’re not willing to sit down and accept the losses, but we are willing to fight to get the win.”
The Aggies have a week-long break before returning to action on Saturday, April 16 against No. 11 Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU, with first pitch set for 1 p.m.

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