COLLEGE STATION –The fifth-ranked Texas A&M Softball team defeated the Oklahoma State Cowgirls, 9-2, behind Riley Sartain’s five-RBI performance Friday evening at the Aggie Softball Complex.
Sartain led the Aggie (33-3) offense, going 3-for-3 with two homers on the night. The Aledo, Texas, native produced a two-run double in the bottom of the first before going on to hit a pair of homers in the second and sixth innings. Sartain and Tori Vidales now lead the team in home runs with nine apiece. For the game, Texas A&M scored nine runs off of nine hits with nine RBIs.
The Cowgirls (25-13) struck first after a walk put Rylee Bayless on base. Bayless then stole second and moved to third on an infield single. Kristin Reasnor singled to short, allowing Bayless to touch home, putting OSU up, 1-0.
The Maroon & White immediately responded in the home half of the inning with five runs after all nine Aggies stepped into the batter’s box. Vidales opened the inning with a walk, followed by Kaitlyn Alderink being hit by a pitch. Sartain’s double to right field brought home Vidales and Alderink to give A&M a 2-1 advantage.
The Aggies extended their lead with an RBI double from Ashley Walters to score Sartain and push Sarah Hudek to third after picking up a walk. Samantha Show added a two-RBI single through the right side to plate Hudek and Walters and put Texas A&M on top, 5-1.
In the second, Sartain tallied her eighth homer of the season with a solo blast to left center to give Texas A&M a 6-1 lead. Vidales followed suit with a long ball in the bottom of the fourth for her ninth of the year.
Oklahoma State closed the lead, 7-2, after a groundout to second from Vanessa Shippy scored Maddi Holcomb, who reached base on a walk.
With her final hit of the night, Sartain hit a two-run homer to left in the sixth, plating Alderink and giving Texas A&M their final, 9-2, score. Sartain now ties Kristen Cuyos at 30 for the most RBI on the season.
Vidales went 2-for-3 on the night, while tallying one RBI. Show and Walters both went 1-for-2 from the plate, with Show driving in two runs and Walters adding one.
Trinity Harrington tossed a complete game to earn the win and push her season record to 11-1. Harrington retired five, walked two, and only allowed two runs off of four hits.
OSU’s starting pitcher, Brandi Needham (12-5), suffered the loss after pitching 5.0 innings. Needham gave up seven runs off of seven hits, while walking five.
The Aggies return to action on Saturday at 4 p.m. for game two of the series. The game can be heard locally on Willy 1550 AM.
To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to 12thMan.com or follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.
Texas A&M Head Coach Jo Evans
On the offense…
“I thought our hitters did a nice job, especially because we were down in the first inning. We turned around and got our walks and stepped up and hit the ball hard. I thought we did a really good job with the strike zone and not chasing too many pitches out of the zone to get ourselves out. We were looking for something to drive. What a statement our kids made. In the bottom of the first inning, it was great to see our kids go up there and have such quality at bats. We hit through the order, and it was really impressive that we just played the game. We didn’t get on our heels. I keep saying this, but we are showing signs of maturity and I am happy about that.”
On Riley Sartain…
“She was looking to hit in [a 2-0] situation. When she was rounding, I told her that I loved that she was still looking to hit in that hitter’s count and not thinking that they were going to walk her. The one at bat that impressed me the most was when she hit the change-up over. She had swung at a couple of pitches that were up in the zone and they tried to finish her off in that at bat, but talk about a huge adjustment within an at bat. They threw the pitches where they had before that she swung at, but she didn’t swing at them. On a full count, she stays in her legs and ends up hitting the ball out of the yard. That is an impressive piece of hitting right there.”
On Tori Vidales…
“She looks good right now. She is doing a good job with the strike zone. When that kid is on, the only time she can get out is if she gets herself out. Right now, she is seeing the ball big. That home run, I love seeing that kid go out there and drive the ball like that. She is playing good defense over there too. I thought she made a couple of nice plays to help us out. You could tell she was seeing the ball really well.”
On Trinity Harrington…
“Tip your hat to them. They did as much as they could with those walks. Early on they were making her throw a lot of pitches and she was a little behind. I love the way she settled in and went at hitters. That kid can win a lot of ballgames for us, and I’m happy to see her make adjustments as she goes along. She will have an at bat that she throws three straight balls and you think the wheels are going to fall off, but she just settles right in and throws two or three strikes and gets us an out. I was really happy to see that kid get out there and compete. I think she has done a really good job of handling pressure situations. She has learned how to keep herself calm and take a step back. When you are healthy, you can take on the world. She has gone out there and competed. I am pleased to see that kid come out on Friday nights and get big wins for us.”