COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M, the No. 12 seed, defeated 13-seed South Carolina, 5-3, in the play-in game of the SEC Softball Tournament on Tuesday night in Gainesville, Florida.
It was the first SEC Tournament victory in school history for Texas A&M.
The Aggies took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning when they loaded the bases and then Trinity Cannon laced a two-out double that cleared the bases. They added an unearned run an inning later and carried that 4-0 advantage into the top of the fifth, when the Gamecocks staged a rally of their own.
South Carolina sent nine batters to the plate, scoring three runs to cut the deficit to a single run. Key hits included doubles by Jordan Fabian and Katie Prebble, and singles by Hannah Kumiyama and Maddie Gallagher.
Texas A&M came back with an insurance run in the bottom half of the fifth, when Cannon singled and came around the score on a double by Koko Wooley, extending its lead to 5-3.
Aggies relief pitchers Grace Uribe and Shaylee Ackerman closed the door on the Gamecocks after that, combining to work the final 2.1 innings without giving up a hit.
Ackerman was especially effective, going the final 1.2 innings without allowing a single baserunner while striking out three to earn the save.
Starting pitcher Emiley Kennedy, a freshman, went the first 4.2 innings and earned the win for the Aggies.
Texas A&M will now take on the 5-seed Florida Gators Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET in a first-round game that will be televised on SEC Network.