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Photo by Rey Romo, TexAgs
Texas A&M Softball

Texas A&M defeats Rutgers, 7-6, on walk-off, Jo Evans earns 1,200th win

February 16, 2019

Texas A&M (8-2) earned a 7-6 walk-off win over Rutgers in their fourth game of the Texas A&M Invitational Saturday afternoon thanks to a 7th-inning walk-off error.

This game was a battle, with both teams swapping leads as the game wore on. Rutgers struggled to close the game and multiple late errors proved costly. The Aggies found a way to win despite being outhit 13 to 4 by the Scarlet Knights.

The scoring got started early in the first, as Rutgers plated a run off of a double to right field. The Aggies would find a way to get out of the inning, while only allowing the one run, despite having a Rutgers player on third base. 

The bottom half of the second would see an incredibly bizarre series of at-bats for the Aggies. Following a quick fly-out for Bailey Klingler, the next two Aggies would be walked, followed by Dani Elder getting hit by a pitch. This set up a loaded bases situation for Kelly Martinez who took full advantage and hit a grand slam off the left field scoreboard.

“I just wanted to get our team back in the game, and drive in a run, and staying relaxed at the plate was a key part of that,” Martinez said after the game.

Rutgers relief pitcher Cambria Keefer would replace Rutgers starter Corah Price, only to be pulled after only 6 pitches, 3 of which struck Aggie batters. Price returned to the mound to replace Keefer, and recorded two quick outs to get the Scarlet Knights out of the inning.

Rey Romo, TexAgs
A&M’s defense came up big in a game that was defined by the glove work from both teams. 

The third and fourth inning saw the Aggie defense make three incredible defensive plays at home plate to prevent crucial runs from being scored. All of these throws to the plate were a result of assists from Kelly Martinez’s arm at second base.

“I don’t remember ever in my entire career, seeing a second baseman have three assists at home plate,” Jo Evans said of Martinez’s throws.

Rutgers would tie the game at four heading to the middle of the fifth frame, thanks in part to some timely hits, and improved base-running. This tie would not last long though, as Riley Sartain added a home run of her own to reclaim the lead for the Aggies, 5-4.

The Scarlet Knights did not quit, they plated two runs of their own in the top of the 6th, and took a 6-5 lead, which they would maintain through the middle of the 7th inning.

The final inning saw the Aggies find ways to get runners on the base. Two walks and a error by Rutgers loaded the bases for the Aggies, and after a quick out by a fielder’s choice, the Aggies tied the game following a fielding error by Rutgers. 

Kelly Martinez’s stepped into the box with an opportunity to win the game for the Aggies. She would deliver, hitting a hard ground ball towards the Rutger’s first baseman, causing an error, resulting in a 7-6 walk-off win for the Aggies.

“I was just trying to stay on top of the ball and make the defense make a play,” said Martinez after the game.

Kendall Potts (2-1), who came on in relief in the 7th inning, earned her second win of the season as a result of the Aggie victory.

Today’s victory for the Aggies also marked a major milestone for Head Coach Jo Evans, as she became just the 12th coach in NCAA Division I softball history to record 1200 wins as the head skipper.

“When I think of 1200, I just have to reflect back on all the schools I coached, and all the great players I’ve had the good fortune to coach, in particular at A&M. Being here for 23 years, I know that that doesn't happen very often. It’s fun to have that level of consistency.” said Evans.

The Aggies will complete their final game of the Texas A&M Invitational tomorrow afternoon against McNeese State. First pitch is set for 12:15PM and the game will be streamed live on the SEC Network +.

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