May 7, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Freshman Amber Garza's walk-off two-run bomb gave the No. 22 Texas A&M softball team (38-13, 10-5 Big 12) a 4-2 win over No. 16 Oklahoma State (37-13, 8-6 Big 12) Saturday in the first game of a two-game conference series at the Aggie Softball Complex. The win was the Aggies' 21st-straight on the home diamond, tying the program record which was set in 2005.
"That's huge right there - walk-off," head coach Jo Evans said. "I told them in the huddle, `This seventh inning is going to be a blast because it's going to be a walk-off and over. To me it tells people how we're playing with confidence. We weren't defeated. We were frustrated, definitely mad, and then we get right back out there and do our job."
Unable to get a runner on base until the fourth, the Aggies took advantage of a pair of hits in the bottom of the inning for a 2-0 lead. Redshirt junior Natalie Villarreal opened the frame with a single to center field. With two outs, sophomore Meagan May sent her 11th home run of the season flying over left field for two RBI as A&M took the lead.
The Cowgirls were quick to answer with a home run to the exact same location in the bottom of the sixth. Second baseman Alysia Hamilton put herself on first with a single popped into shallow center before shortstop Chelsea Garcia hit a long ball, also her 11th on the season, into the bushes behind the wall in left field to draw the score at 2-2.
With only two hits on the board compared to six by OSU, the Aggies entered the bottom of the seventh in search of a rally. May took first on a walk and was replaced by junior Kelsea Orsak on the base paths before a sacrifice bunt by senior Kelsey Spittler sent the pinch runner to second. Garza found the same sweet spot behind left field and sent a pitch sailing for the game-winning home run. The third baseman's seventh homer of the season gave A&M a 4-2 victory and continued the Aggies undefeated streak at home this season.
"We got in a huddle in the bottom of the seventh and I said, `This is what playing at home is all about,'" Evans said. "I said, `Meagan May is probably going to get walked, and I want you to know she's willing to take a walk. ` Then [Kelsey] Spittler lays down a perfect bunt. We kept talking about patience when we're up there, and [Amber] has done such a great job being disciplined in the strike zone. When they threw that ball that number of times on the outside part of the plate, she's ready to time it, to go that way with it. She doesn't need me to say anything. She just needs to get up there and do her job."
Sophomore Mel Dumezich (23-8) earned the win, fanning six batters and allowing only two earned runs on six hits in seven complete innings of work. OSU reliever Sarah Odom (2-2) suffered the loss, giving up two earned runs on one hit in 1 1/3 innings in the circle.
Tomorrow the Aggies will close out the series with the Cowgirls on Junior Aggie Club Day at 1 p.m. All JAC members are invited to the Aggie Softball Complex for Mother's Day activities. For more information on A&M softball or JAC Day, log on to AggieAthletics.com.