The No. 17 Texas A&M softball team swept day one of the Texas A&M Invitational on Friday, blanking Stephen F. Austin, 8-0, in five innings, and Missouri State, 5-0, at the Aggie Softball Complex.
Against SFA, the Aggies (7-0) grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the first inning as sophomore Kaitlyn Alderink reached base on a walk and quickly stole second. Junior Ashley Walters singled through the right side before sophomore Samantha Show plated Alderink with a sacrifice fly to center.
In the second inning, junior Erica Russell and sophomore Keeli Milligan reached base on a walk and fielder’s choice, respectively, and took advantage of a wild pitch and throwing error to give the Aggies a 3-0 lead.
The Maroon and White added to their lead in the third when freshman Sarah Hudek scored as Russell reached base on a throwing error. Milligan continued the two-out rally with a triple to left and later scored on an Alderink single. Back-to-back RBI singles by junior Tori Vidales and Walters extended the lead to eight.
Show recorded her third win of the season with a four-hit complete-game shutout. The East Bernard, Texas native struck out six with a walk. On the season, Show is 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 16 innings.
In the nightcap, the Aggies took a 3-0 lead in the third on a Walters home run to center, her first of the season. Walters finished the night going 4-for-5 at the plate.
Texas A&M added to their lead in the fourth as sophomore Riley Sartain hit a two-run dinger off the scoreboard in right center. The blast was Sartain’s first of the season and seventh of her career.
Junior Lexi Smith earned the win to move to 2-0 on the year, throwing her second complete game of the season. The Temple, Texas, native allowed just three hits while striking out nine.
The Aggies return to action Saturday at 12:15 p.m. against New Mexico and at 3 p.m. versus Missouri State.
Texas A&M Quotes
Head Coach Jo Evans
On going 2-0 to start the tournament...
“I feel good about today. I thought our kids looked good. I thought we played good defense, and I thought pitching wise both those kids did well on the mound. It was nice to see us hit for power the other way and get some balls out of the yard.”
On Lexi Smith’s performance…
“I was really pleased to see her come back. I was a little surprised in her first outing that she did not have a better outing. She was so fired up and jacked up [in her first start] and tonight she really settled herself down and was calm. The great thing with her tonight was she could throw strikes on both sides of the plate, which really kept those hitters off balance.”
On Kaitlyn Alderink…
“I thought she was terrific in the leadoff spot and I am really happy to see it. We talk about her flying under the radar a lot but she finds ways to get on base. She understands where she is in the lineup, whether she is a table setter or in a two-hole. She is letting Keeli steal bases and hitting behind her. She has a really high softball IQ and just a smart player. You want that leadoff hitter to set the tone for the game and she did that.”
On Keeli Milligan…
“Tonight is the first time I have seen that kid be comfortable all season. Coach (Joy) Jackson has been working a lot with her on slapping and getting more explosive out of the box and she did that tonight. She just looked like herself. She was faster and more aggressive on the bases. She was having fun playing the game instead of second guessing herself.”
On Samantha Show’s performance against SFA…
“It makes me so happy. I thought she was in total control today. She threw 76 pitches on the day which is huge. That kid can throw all day when she is throwing that few of pitches. I thought it was huge that our offense did what it did to allow Sam to get us on and off. I thought she was really good today out on the mound.”
On hitting two home runs…
“We needed that. We have been looking so bad on that outside pitch. It’s been way too easy of outs and really getting ourselves out by not doing a good job on that pitch. You saw today we just started sitting on it and going the other way. When you start hitting balls over the wall, you know hitters are starting to see the ball, get it in their legs and getting a lot more comfortable. We needed to see that because we have way too much power in that lineup to not be hitting the ball out of the park.”