No. 5 Aggies Run-Rule Nittany Lions, 12-2
ORLANDO, Fla. - The No. 5 Texas A&M softball team (22-1) run-ruled Penn State (3-7), 12-2, on the final day of the Citrus Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The Aggies ended a 19-game winning streak with one loss in Orlando but went 4-1 on the weekend.
A seven-run fourth inning was what the Aggies needed to be lifted over the Nittany Lions. A&M collected six hits, including two long balls, in the half-inning. Five more runs in the top of the fifth secured the run-rule.
A&M abandoned a bases-loaded effort in the top of the second inning. With one out, junior Jenna Stark took a pitch to the body and was followed on by senior Sydney Shannon, who hit a two-out bunt single. A walk by junior Cassie Tysarczyk juiced the bags, but the team was unable to capitalize and moved to the bottom of the inning locked in a 0-0 tie.
The Nittany Lions also put three on in the second, and used the no-out, three-on situation to get a 2-0 lead on the Aggies. A hit-by-pitch and two base hits loaded the bases before a line drive to left field sent two runners home and left two at first and second before A&M senior Mel Dumezich fanned two batters for the first two outs. The Penn State runners advanced into scoring position on a double steal, but a groundout ended the inning with the Aggies trailing by two.
A&M took its first lead of the game at 7-2 in the top of the fourth, batting through the lineup and chasing the PSU pitcher. A leadoff home run by Dumezich in the top of the fourth narrowed the gap to 1-2. Stark drew a walk and was replaced on the base paths by junior Allison Garrett before junior Amber Garza pounded a no-out bomb over the fence down the right-field line to plate two runs for the lead.
The offensive effort didn't stop there. With one out, Tysarczyk sped to first for a bunt single and stole second before a two-out infield single by sophomore Brittany Clopton sent Tysarczyk home for the 4-2 run. A throwing error from right field put Clopton at third, but it didn't matter as Morgan homered over right-center field. Lanphear drew a walk and was pushed to second on another walk, by Dumezich, before Stark got the last word with an RBI single through the left side for the 7-2 lead as Lanphear scored.
Shannon led off with a walk in the top of the fifth and was replaced at first by junior Kaydee Rayburn. Rayburn took second on a passed ball before Albus walked and Clopton singled to load the bases. A double to right-center by Morgan cleared the bags for the 10-2 lead before shortstop Taran Tyler entered to run.
A single and a throw put Tyler at third as Lanphear reached second. Dumezich earned her second RBI of the day in the next at-bat as a single to center plated Tyler for the 11-2 run. The Aggies' final run of the game came on a bases-loaded, RBI hit-by-pitch by Rayburn, who stayed in the game after pinch running. Lanphear scored on the play and the game entered the bottom of the fifth with A&M in a 12-2 lead.
Penn State was unable to respond to the explosive A&M offense, and three straight batters were retired in the bottom of the fifth to end the game in a 12-2 run-rule win for the Aggies.
Dumezich (15-0) earned the win after giving up two earned runs on four hits and no walks while fanning nine Nittany Lions. Penn State's Macy Jones (3-3) took the loss, allowing seven earned runs on six hits and three walks while striking out two.
The fifth-ranked Aggies will dive into Southeastern Conference play next weekend as they travel to Missouri for a three-game series, March 8-10. To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.