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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Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

Herzog records 200th career strikeout in Friday’s loss to Florida

Photo by Photo by Abbey Santoro

Despite the Aggies’ loss on Friday, sophomore pitcher Makinzy Herzog recorded the 200th strikeout of her career. 

Texas A&M softball held a lead over No. 4 Florida until a walk-off homerun sealed the Gators’ 5-3 win over the Aggies in Gainesville on Friday night. The loss dropped A&M’s record to 31-18 overall, 8-14 in conference play.
The maroon and white got the bats going in the second inning with a double from freshman Bre Warren, a single by senior Kelly Martinez and an RBI double by junior Kayla Garcia to give the Aggies an early 1-0 lead.
The combined efforts of a double by junior Haley Lee and single by Warren brought another run around for the Aggies before the Gators managed to plate two in the bottom of the third to shrink A&M’s lead to one.
A pair of singles from Martinez and Garcia to lead off the fourth forced Florida to go to its bullpen, replacing Elizabeth Hightower with left-handed pitcher Katie Chronister.
Following the pitching change, the Aggies struggled offensively and remained scoreless. After the game, A&M coach Jo Evans commended Florida’s coaching staff for that decision because it inevitably led to the Gators’ victory due to the Aggies’ inability to make adjustments.
“Yeah, I thought that was a smart move by their staff to come in with a lefty,” Evans said. “She did a nice job, made it hard on our leftys. We had a couple of opportunities, but not many.”
The Aggies held onto their 3-2 lead heading into the seventh inning but were unable to add any insurance runs. After not allowing a hit since the third inning, Herzog began to struggle to find the strike zone and walked two consecutive batters, placing the tying and winning runners on base before giving up a walk-off, three-run home run.
Evans said this game was a tough one to lose, especially considering the Aggies led up until the final batter. Evans described the team as being upset, mad, frustrated and disappointed but emphasized the importance of being mentally tough and ready to come out and play again.
“This is our opportunity to learn how to be mentally tough,” Evans said. “We’ve talked about that before, like, ‘How do you practice that, how do you do that?’ and you need experiences like this to practice being mentally tough. So for tonight, be mad. Be upset. Be frustrated. But when you wake up tomorrow morning, be ready to win a ball game, just like you woke up this morning, and that’s my message to our ball club.”
Despite giving up the walk-off homerun, Evans said she was pleased with Herzog’s performance on the mound. The junior utility player held the Gators to five hits on the night and struck out five en route to tallying her 200th career strikeout.
Offensively, Evans praised Warren for her pair of hits and RBI and commended Garcia for earning her first start of the year and producing two hits, one of which plated the Aggies’ first run.
“I thought Kayla Garcia was terrific,” Evans said. “That kid’s been fighting for a spot for a long time and [is an example of] what it looks like to not give up and not check out just because you’re not in the lineup. She’s been working hard, she’s been looking good and we’ve been looking for opportunities for her. We felt starting that game was the right decision for her and getting that bat in the lineup and [I’m] really proud of the way she managed that and how that got her teammates fired up.”
Overall, Evans commended the team for making plays defensively and being aggressive offensively, especially considering the team’s struggles in last weekend’s series against Kentucky that resulted in a sweep for the Wildcats.
“You know, we expected to win this game,” Evans said. “We expected to come out and fight and prepared ourselves accordingly but just didn’t finish it.”
The Aggies will be back in action on Saturday, May 8, for Game 2 against the Gators. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

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