May 13, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - In her career-first conference hit, freshman Taran Tyler pounded a two-RBI triple to right-center field as the No. 18 Texas A&M softball team (40-13, 12-5) shutout Texas Tech (40-13, 5-13), 3-0, Friday in game one of the final two-game conference series at the Aggie Softball Complex.
"I have to give all of the credit to Coach Jackson," head coach Jo Evans said. "She came up to me and said, `What do you think about hitting Taran for [Nicole Morgan] when she comes up?' So we got her ready to go. The thing is, Taran has really been swinging the bat well at practice. When we brought Taran in, it wasn't a courtesy at-bat. It was a situation where she needs to get up there and get an at-bat because somewhere down the road we're going to need to use her. And then it played out just like you'd want it to."
In a scoreless draw until the fifth, the Aggies pushed ahead to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the inning. Sophomore Mel Dumezich cleared right field with a solo bomb, her eighth of the season.
"I thought Mel was great at the plate," Evans said. "She was seeing the ball really well. She got all of that one. With the wind blowing in as hard as it is, she hits one to the deepest part of the field and it doesn't go out but I felt really good about her at-bats and her chances. She had herself really swinging it really well all night."
Freshman Cassie Tysarczyk had the first hit of the night, a single up the middle in the bottom of the third. She was sent to second on an infield single by sophomore Brittany Walker, but both batters were left on base.
The bottom of the sixth sent A&M out to a bigger lead when Tyler tripled. With two outs, freshman Amber Garza drew a walk and was followed on by Tysarczyk, who also took first on a fourth ball. With the two runners on, Tyler sent a pitch crashing into the wall in right-center in her only at-bat of the game. The pinch hitter never slowed down as she flew to third, pushing Garza and Tysarczyk home for the 3-0 lead.
"Taran did such a good job getting rid of that change-up," Evans said. "We're always talking about good hitters with two strikes. Sometimes you just get rid of pitches. You foul them off. You're not trying to hit that ball fair. You're trying to foul it off, get rid of it and then get something you can drive. That was beautiful - it gave me goosebumps. I loved it. I love seeing that freshman step up there in a big situation like that. I'm really proud of Taran."
Texas Tech looked for a rally in the top of the seventh when shortstop Raven Richardson hit a long double to right field. She was left on base as the Aggie defense benched the Red Raider hitters, earning their program-best 23rd-straight win at home and a 17th shutout on the season.
Dumezich (26-8) threw seven complete innings for her 12th solo shutout, her fifth in conference play. The right-handed pitcher fanned four batters on the night, allowing no runs while holding the Red Raiders to just two hits. Texas Tech hurler Brittany Talley (14-6) suffered the loss, giving up three earned runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings while striking out six.
"I thought Mel was a little frustrated in the first inning," Evans said. "I think she thought she was having to throw in a soup can. She felt like maybe it was a little tight. Mel's really competitive and she can be a little intense out there, but I like the way she didn't take herself out of the game. She did a good job keeping us in it."
The teams will face again tomorrow at noon. Fans are encouraged to remain in the stands as the Aggie softball seniors will be honored after the game on the field. Saturday is also Honor Roll Day. Both A and B honor roll students, grades 1-5, in the Bryan-College Station area received complimentary tickets to the game, while their family members can buy discounted tickets for $3 each. For more information on Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com.