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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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One step away
June 8, 2024

Wildcats top Aggies in extra innings

Photo by Photo by Abbey Santoro

Junior catcher Haley Lee hit 25 home runs in the 2021 season.

Texas A&M softball dropped the second consecutive game to No. 17 Kentucky on Saturday afternoon at Davis Diamond. Despite forcing the game to extra innings, A&M fell to the Wildcats with a final score of 2-1.
The Aggies and Wildcats battled defensively through six innings before either team managed to get on the board. Kentucky eventually broke the scoring drought in the top of the seventh by taking advantage of an A&M fielding error and scoring on a triple.
Junior Haley Lee responded with a solo home run, her 22nd home run of the season, in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game and force an extra inning. While sitting at 1-of-3 on the day and recovering from a defensive error, A&M coach Jo Evans said Lee’s ability to produce in that moment was huge.
“I will say this about Haley Lee: that’s what great players do,” Evans said. “Dropping that ball to give [Kentucky] a run, I mean, I know what that had to feel like to her. So for her to go up and have some control over the outcome, to go up and hit that ball, who does that? Only great players do that.”
The Wildcats managed to record a pair of doubles in the eighth in which plated another run to take a 2-1 lead that the Aggies were unable to combat.
Ultimately, the loss is a result of a lack of timely hitting from the maroon and white. Although the Aggies managed to record nine hits on the day compared to the Wildcats’ six, A&M left 10 runners stranded and never managed to record a hit with a runner in scoring position. In the end, Kentucky was the first to make adjustments at the plate after struggling offensively as well.
“We certainly had our opportunities, we stranded 10 runners,” Evans said. “We talk about how important it is to get off to a quick start and answer right back and we had our chances early and couldn’t make it happen. It’s a lot about timely hitting. You look at what Kentucky did today: they hung on long enough to get a couple of hits together.”
Defensively, Evans said she was more than pleased with the performance from senior pitcher Kayla Poynter and senior catcher Kelly Martinez.
Poynter struck out three and held the Wildcats to three hits in the 7.1 innings she pitched before freshman Grace Uribe came in as relief. Evans commended Poynter for striking out the first batter of the day, getting out of a bases-loaded jam later in the game and handling the pressure created by a lack of offensive productivity.
“I thought Kayla Poynter was phenomenal on the mound,” Evans said. “That kid threw seven innings of no earned runs against one of the best hitting teams in the country, you’ve got to acknowledge that even though we didn’t win it.”
Although Lee typically sits behind the plate, Martinez stepped in as catcher and impressed Evans with her performance.
“I also thought Kelly Martinez was absolutely terrific behind the plate,” Evans said. “[She] threw two runners out by a lot, every pitch was blocked, no passed-balls today, no wild pitches. Making plays bouncing out from behind the plate — I think she had at least three assists out there.”
Evans said Game 2 was especially tough to drop because she said the team played much better than it did in Friday’s 5-1 loss. Evans said she was unhappy with the team’s lack of energy, passion and enthusiasm from the first game of the series but challenged them to come out differently on Saturday and, despite the loss, was pleased because they did.
“Our at-bats were a thousand times better today than they were yesterday,” Evans said. “We gave ourselves a chance to win a ball game and were more alert and aware of the ball game and what was going on. All of those things I’ve been harping on our kids about that we didn’t see yesterday so I was very pleased to see it today.”
Evans said her message to the team following Saturday’s loss was a reminder to not get caught up in the outcome that they forget to acknowledge what the team did differently. Evans told the team she expects the same mindset and attitude going into the series finale and said her young team is still learning that the process does not reap instant gratification, but instead, requires consistency.
The Aggies will face the Wildcats again Sunday, May 2, for the series finale and final regular season game at Davis Diamond. The first pitch is slated for noon.

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