COLLEGE STATION - The No. 8 Texas A&M softball team defeated Iowa, 3-2, and Tulsa, 6-0, Saturday in day two of the Texas A&M Invitational at the Aggie Softball Complex.
In game one, the Hawkeyes drew blood first in the third inning when Cheyenne Pratt singled and eventually scored on a fielder's choice. The Aggies didn't take long to tie it up as Erica Russell beat out a bunt and later capitalized on a passed ball to score in the bottom half of the inning.
In the fifth inning, Iowa (3-5) regained the lead on a pair of singles by Daniella Ibarra and Aralee Bogar.
Ashley Walters led off the sixth inning with a walk and Kylie George, who pinch ran for Walters, came around to score on a frozen rope up the middle delivered by Payton McBride, tying the game at two.
Tori Vidales blasted a walk-off solo shot over the left field wall in the seventh, her fourth homerun on the weekend. Two of the Maroon & White's victories this season have come in walk-off fashion, both coming from the senior.
In the circle, MacGrandle earned the win to move to 2-0 on the year, tossing a complete game while recording six strikeouts and giving up only five hits and two runs.
Against Tulsa, the Aggies took an early lead in the second inning, tallying three runs on three consecutive RBI singles by Riley Sartain, Sarah Hudek and Payton McBride.
Texas A&M extended their lead to 6-0 in the fifth as Kelbi Fortenberry singled through the right side and was followed by two walks by Kaitlyn Alderink and Vidales. Walters delivered a two-RBI single, bringing Fortenberry and Alderink around to score. Sartain capped off the the inning with a sacrifice fly to plate Vidales.
Lexi Smith earned the win in the first start of her senior campaign while fanning eight and allowing only four hits and three walks in six innings of work. McBride threw one inning in relief, striking out two and allowing one hit and one walk.
WHAT THEY SAID
Texas A&M Head Coach Jo Evans
On Maddie MacGrandle's performance...
"I'm really pleased to see our young players take those opportunities and run with them. Maddie did a good job backing up her performance yesterday, coming out today and doing a nice job. I think she's getting sharper and sharper. I'm excited about what I saw today."
On Payton McBride...
"Payton McBride is just lights out. That kid wanted an opportunity, got it and made the most of it. She's really kind of showing the rest of the ball club this is what it looks like. When you get the chances, you have to perform, and she's doing a great job."
On Tori Vidales' homerun...
"They had her number the first three at bats, but that's just Tori. She wants you to throw her a pitch that she can hit. Their coach walked her intentionally to load the bases. That's respect right there. For Tori to step up and hit a monster shot and get us off the field was great because we struggled that game. Iowa's pitcher threw really well."
The Aggies wrap up play in the Texas A&M Invitational Sunday at 12:15 p.m. against Butler at the Aggie Softball Complex. The game can be heard locally on Willy 1550 AM or online at www.12thMan.com/showcase.