AUSTIN, Texas - Texas A&M Softball was defeated by Houston, 3-1, Friday in the first game of the NCAA Austin Regional at McCombs Field.
The game remained scoreless through four innings until Houston's Arielle James delivered a three-run homer to left in the bottom of the fifth.
The Aggies loaded the bases in the sixth as Haley Lee and Blake-Ann Fritsch each delivered singles and Morgan Smith reached on an error. A dropped ball at first on a groundball from Kelbi Fortenberry allowed Ashlynn Walls, who pinch ran for Lee, to cross home for the Aggies' lone run.
Despite suffering the loss, Kendall Potts limited the Cougars to five hits and three runs, none of which were earned, in five innings. The Arlington, Texas, native fanned three and allowed three walks. Payton McBride recorded the final three outs of the game on two fly outs and one strikeout.
KEY INNINGSB5 | Brooke Vannoy reached base after a passed ball on the third strike and Sarah Barker singled up the middle before Arielle James delivered a three-run homer. UH 3, A&M 0
T6 | Haley Lee led off with a single to center, Morgan Smith reached on an error and Blake-Ann Fritsch delivered an infield single to load the bases. Kelbi Fortenberry landed on first after an error by the Cougars' first baseman, allowing Ashlynn Walls, who pinch ran for Lee, to touch home. UH 3, A&M 1
Top Offensive Players:
Haley Lee | 2-for-3, BB
Kendall Potts (12-13) - L, 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 3 K, 3 BB
Payton McBride - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K, 0 BB
WHAT THEY SAID
Head Coach Jo Evans
"Obviously, it was a disappointing loss for us. We leave 10 baserunners on base and it's tough to win a game if we can't get some timely hitting. I thought Kendall (Potts) threw well. We positioned ourselves with runners in scoring position, less than two outs, with the right people up and just couldn't get it done. Obviously I am frustrated and disappointed."
On the pitching staff's performance...
"I thought both pitchers threw well. It's disappointing where we get a big strikeout and we should've been out of the inning and Haley (Lee) got crossed up a little bit on the pitch that was coming and it ended up being a drop-third strike instead of a strikeout. (Houston pitcher Savannah) Heebner threw well. Give her credit. She does a good job only throwing strikes when she needs to throw strikes. I thought we struck the ball well at times. With 10 runners left on base, we certainly had our opportunities and could not capitalize on those opportunities. They had some errors that we took advantage of to get ourselves on base but then we couldn't do some damage in terms of scoring runs."
The Aggies will return to action Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in the first elimination game of the regional.