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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Defending Davis Diamond

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Photo by Cassie Stricker

The A&M softball team sways during the War Hymn.

The cold, wet weather in College Station this weekend didn’t stop No. 20 Texas A&M softball from outscoring opponents 53-14 on the opening weekend of the season.
For the first time since 2016, A&M was unable to sweep its opponents in the annual Aggie Classic tournament. The 2019 edition of the opening weekend invitational featured North Texas, California Baptist and Northern Colorado.
The Aggies capped off a 4-1 record in the tournament with a commanding 15-0 run rule victory over California Baptist on Sunday. The Aggies jumped to a 9-0 lead in the bottom of the first half after A&M batted around the order. Junior outfielder Kelbi Fortenberry capped off the scoring with a three-run home run with two outs.
Texas A&M head coach Jo Evans said having a statement win after a major loss is important for team morale.
“After not feeling great about that loss and seeing if we’re resilient and can manage this, I thought we did a great job,” Evans said. “When I showed up to meet with our team, I was walking down the hall and I could hear them clearly just cutting up and getting loose, which is what I wanted to see.”
The playing on Saturday was the polar opposite. In game one of the day, A&M defeated Northern Colorado 9-1 in five innings after an explosive second inning. Sophomore Gabby Moreno began the scoring after singling up the middle with two outs.
After sophomore Ashlynn Walls singled and Moreno advanced to third base, both players stole their respective bases, giving A&M the 2-0 lead. A&M added three more runs in the inning to give the Aggies the 5-0 lead early in the game. The Aggies added a run in the third and three runs in the fifth inning to seal the run rule victory.
Evans said the Aggies’ timely hitting allowed A&M to jump ahead and put the team in a position to close out the game.
“We did a really great job with two outs,” Evans said. “Our kids did a really nice job offensively. We were attacking the strike zone. We weren’t chasing pitches. We managed the strike zone well, struck the ball well and took them out of the game.”
The second game of the day for A&M was a challenge, Evans said.
UNT pitcher Jenna Goodrich only allowed two hits on 3.1 innings pitched and walked two A&M batters. A&M was able to get two runs across the plate in the final inning of the game.
On the defensive side of the ball, A&M sophomore starting pitcher Kayla Poynter struggled, giving up four runs on four hits in 1.2 innings of work. Redshirt freshman Hannah Mayo and junior Payton McBride both came in relief.
Mayo’s 0.2 inning outing resulted in one hit, five run outing. McBride pitched 2.2 innings, allowing one run on two hits.
“We didn’t do a good job of attacking the strike zone,” Evans said. “UNT did a nice job of making our pitchers throw strikes, and when they didn’t, they took their walks. … There were a lot of hitter’s counts and opportunities for them to see balls over the plate. They took advantage of it. I tip my hat to North Texas.”
Opening night of the tournament featured a 27 to 3 run differential between the two games. A&M defeated California Baptist 9-1. The Aggies out hit the Lancers 11-1.
In game two, the Aggies’ explosive bats continued, and A&M defeated Northern Colorado 18-2 after a 10-run fourth inning.
Senior third basemen Riley Sartain led the team offensively, going 5-for-5 at the plate with three home runs, seven RBI, and scoring five times, with two doubles and one walk.
The Aggies return to Davis Diamond on Wednesday as the set to host Prairie View A&M in the first mid-week game of the season. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.

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