COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Sophomore Taran Tyler hit a walk-off bomb as the 15th-ranked Texas A&M softball team (8-2) completed a sweep of the Aggie Classic. The Aggies extend their home winning streak to 32 games with a 5-1 victory over Tulsa (5-2) and a 3-1 seventh-inning win over UTSA (4-7).
"Taran really swung the bat well for us in the preseason and practice," head coach Jo Evans said. "Taran has the disadvantage of having some really great defensive players playing ahead of her. Taran's an infielder and we're so solid in those positions that it makes it tough for her. I was saying this after the game earlier - what a great attitude Taran Tyler has had.
"Last year she came in here, it was really hard for to sort of understand her role and know what she could bring to the table, and this year she's a completely different person, different player, different kid, all in a good way. She wasn't a bad before at all, but she's matured so much and that's the only way you can come into a game like this and do what she's done. She's just a kid that's not afraid to be aggressive and swing the bat and our kids were not aggressive in that game and it was the perfect position for Taran to be in."
The Aggies fought their way back onto the scoreboard in both games after Tulsa and UTSA scored an early run each.
A second-inning single by Tulsa gave the Golden Hurricane a 1-0 lead through the top of the fourth when the Aggies scored a pair of unearned runs on an error and a two-out single through the left side, by junior Brittany Walker.
An error in the sixth inning put senior Kelsea Orsak on first. With the centerfielder on third after two groundouts, junior Meagan May drew a walk and was replaced on the base paths by sophomore Jenna Stark. Tyler sent a single through the right side that scored Orsak and, with two outs, junior Sydney Shannon doubled down the left field line for two RBI as Stark and Tyler flew home for the final 5-1 lead.
The Aggies had five hits on the game and drew 10 walks while forcing the Golden Hurricane to commit three errors.
A&M junior hurler Mel Dumezich (4-1) fanned nine batters and gave up one earned run on six hits in seven complete innings. TU's Lacey Middlebrooks (2-1) took the loss after striking out three batters and giving up five unearned runs on five hits in 5.2 innings pitched.
In the second game of the doubleheader and the final game of the 2012 Aggie Classic, A&M struggled to connect with the ball, getting its first hit in the fourth inning. UTSA had three base hits in the first inning alone, scoring the 1-0 run on a single through the left side.
The Aggies drew five walks in the first three innings and put their first hit on the board in the form of a single through the left side by Dumezich in the bottom of the fourth. The junior hit .667 on the day with two base hits.
A&M continued to put runners on the bags but couldn't capitalize on chances until the bottom of the seventh inning. May reached first on her second non-walk of the day, a fielder's choice. The catcher drew six walks in two games, and was intentionally walked twice vs. UTSA.
May was replaced at first by sophomore Allison Garrett. A one-out double by Shannon, who was 3-for-6 on the day, put runners on second and third before Tyler pulled the ball hard into right field, clearing the fence as the Aggies added a 3-1 victory to their tally of 32-straight wins at the Aggie Softball Complex.
"We've been kicking around who is going to step up in the four hole and [Sydney] really has done a nice job and boy, she got all of that," Evans said. "She hit it on the screws and gave us a chance. And Allison Garrett got to go in and score a big run for us and that was exciting."
Tyler's walk-off bomb was her career-first, in her first start of the season. She was 2-for-4 on the day with two runs scored and four RBI, which bests her 2011 season total.
"I've got to say one thing - I wish we had a name for our ballpark," Evans said. "They talk about Olsen Field Magic and we've got a little bit of that going on here, too. I'm really proud of the way our kids kept fighting. We were all frustrated offensively and yet Brittany Walker goes up there and gets herself on base. That's a really good at bat. She went up there and gave us a chance. I'm really proud of her and Taran and a bunch of those kids."
Senior Lindsey Sisk (4-1) threw three strikeouts and walked only one batter while giving up one earned run on six hits in seven complete innings in the circle. Roadrunner pitcher Alyssa Vordenbaum (2-2) suffered the loss after allowing three earned runs on five hits and walking seven runners in 6 1/3 innings pitched.
The Aggies travel to the Palm Springs area this coming weekend to play five games in the Cathedral City Classic. A&M will start the weekend with a noon game vs. No. 2 Florida and a 2:30 p.m. game with New Mexico on Thursday. Friday will feature a contest against No. 12 Washington at 12:30 p.m. and a 3 p.m. rematch vs. BYU before the team closes out the tournament with an 11:30 a.m. game vs. Pacific on Saturday that will be broadcast on Sports Radio 1150 AM. All other games this coming weekend can be heard on 95.1-3 The Zone HD.
To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com.