NORMAN, Okla. - In the opening round of the Norman Regional, the Texas A&M softball team came up short against the Wichita State Shockers, 9-7, Friday evening at Marita Hynes Field.
The Aggies were down 9-4 in the top of the seventh inning when Makinzy Herzog was hit by a pitch and Haley Lee singled up the middle to get a rally started. Bre Warren loaded the bases after reaching on an error and Morgan Smith drew a bases-loaded walk to plate Herzog. Senior Dani Elder would come up big for the Maroon & White, plating two on a double to left field. Texas A&M had the winning run at the plate, with runners at second and third, but couldn't get them across.
The Shockers got off to a hot start, taking a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first after a two-run home run. The Aggies cut their deficit in half, 2-1, after Rylen Wiggins' RBI groundout in the top of the second inning. Wichita State answered in the bottom half of the inning, plating two run to go on top, 4-1.
In the top of the third inning with two outs, Haley Lee walked and freshman Bre Warren launched her third home run of the season over the centerfield fence to put the Aggies within one, 4-3.
The next two innings were scoreless, until Wichita State took a 9-3 lead on a five-run fifth inning. Texas A&M was able to get one back with an RBI groundout by Trinity Cannon to make the score 9-4. The Aggies battled in the top of the seventh, plating three, but their rally wasn't enough, as the Shockers came away with the 9-7 win.
Makinzy Herzog (12-7) earned the start for the Aggies, but was saddled with the loss after pitching 1.1 innings allowing three hits on four runs, three of which were earned. Grace Uribe came on in relief and tossed 3.1 innings of work, scattering five hits on four runs. Kayla Poynter pitched the remainder of the game and allowed one run on one hit, while striking out one.
The Aggies drop to 31-22 overall, while the Shockers improve to 40-11-1 on the season.
B1| Addison Barnard reached first on a hit-by-pitch before Madison Perrigan homered to left field. WSU 2, A&M 0
T2| Back-to-back singles courtesy of Shaylee Ackerman and Morgan Smith put two runners on with no outs. A sacrifice bunt laid down by Dani Elder advanced both runners up a bag before Rylen Wiggins' groundout plated Ackerman. WSU 2, A&M 1
B2| Kaylee Huecker reached safely on a fielder's choice and swiped second on a wild pitch. An error in the infield allowed Bailey Urban to reach first base and a hit by Sydney McKinney loaded the bases. A walk to Barnard scored Huecker and a hit by pitch to Neleigh Herring plated Urban. WSU 4, A&M 1
T3| With two outs, Haley Lee walked and touched home on Bre Warren's no-doubter over the centerfield wall. WSU 4, A&M 3 B5| Huecker singled to left field and Urban singled up the middle. McKinney doubled to left field to advance Urban to third and to score Huecker. Barnard singled down the right field line to plate both Urban and McKinney. Perrigan hit her second home run of the game with a two-run shot over the left field wall. WSU 9, A&M 3
T6| Morgan Smith was hit by a pitch and Star Ferguson would pinch run for her. Ferguson advanced to second after Dani Elder drew a walk. Madi Jatzlau pinch ran for Elder. Rylen Wiggins walked to load the bases. Trinity Cannon pinch hit for Ashlynn Walls and grounded out to short, but scored Ferguson on the play. WSU 9, A&M 4
T7| Makinzy Herzog was hit by a pitch and Haley Lee singled up the middle. Taudrea Sinnie pinch ran for Lee. Bre Warren reached on a fielding error to load the bases. Morgan Smith walked to plate Herzog. Dani Elder doubled to left field to score Sinnie and Warren. WSU 9, A&M 7
Top Offensive Players:
Bre Warren| 1-for-4, 2 RBI, HR
Dani Elder| 1-for-1, 2 RBI
Makinzy Herzog (12-7) - 1.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 SO, 2BB
Grace Uribe - 3.1 IP, 5 H, 4 H, 4 ER, 1 SO, 0 BB
Kayla Poynter - 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 SO, 0 BB
WHAT THEY SAID
Head Coach Jo Evans
On the team's late rally...
"Well I thought our kids did a really nice job. We took a lot of walks and had some hit batters. We gave ourselves a chance. I thought that was a really encouraging part of the game. Offensively, every time they scored, we scored in that next half inning as well. When you have a team that's going to answer back like that, if gives you a chance to win a ballgame."
On the team's battle...
"I do like that we fight. I look at what happened out there today and I look at those freshmen and how they contributed. You look at Bre Warren, who's sitting on a pitch and goes yard. That's a freshman in there in our three spot. You look how those kids get up there and compete. I like our fight, but it has to translate into wins."
On what the team looks to do tomorrow...
"Our season is on the line. We came here to win. To me, it's not out of our reach to go out tomorrow and win two games and play in the championship game on Sunday. That's my expectation."
Freshman outfielder Bre Warren
On the team's late rally...
"I definitely feel like it showed a lot of maturity in our program. It was really encouraging to see and will be good going into tomorrow with a lot of momentum. It was really important for us to fight through those last three outs."
The Aggies will play the loser of the Oklahoma-Morgan State game on Saturday, May 22 at 5:30 p.m. CT.