Photo by Mintie Betts, TexAgs
Texas A&M Softball

A&M softball loses Regional elimination game to Texas, 3-2, to end season

May 18, 2019
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After trailing 2-1 for most of the afternoon and down to their final out, the Aggies pounced on a Longhorn error to force a tie and an extra frame. Texas quickly duplicated A&M's fortunes, scoring the decisive run on an Aggie throwing error in the eighth and ending A&M's season.


Press release from Texas A&M:

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas A&M Softball’s season came to an end Saturday after falling to No. 9 Texas, 3-2, in eight innings at the NCAA Austin Regional held at McCombs Field.

The Aggies finish their 2019 campaign with a 28-27 record.

The Maroon & White got on the board early as Kelbi Fortenberry earned a walk and later took advantage of a throwing error by the Longhorns’ catcher to touch home. Texas took the lead in the second on a Shannon Rhodes two-run blast.

To start the bottom of the seventh, Blake-Ann Fritsch slugged a double to the wall in the gap in right. Trailing 2-1 with two outs, Kayla Garcia reached base on a throwing error by the third baseman, allowing Fritsch to cross home to tie the game.

Janae Jefferson doubled to left in the eighth and scored on an error, putting the Longhorns on top.

Payton McBride was saddled with the loss after allowing nine hits, three runs and two walks in her third career eight-inning complete game.

The lone senior for the Aggies, Riley Sartain started in 232 games and finished her career with a .289 batting average with 37 home runs and 136 RBI. The infielder posted a .959 fielding percentage and 436 assists, which ranks sixth all-time in program history.

KEY INNINGS

B1| Kelbi Fortenberry earned a walk to start the inning, stole second and advanced to third as Baylee Klingler reached on an error. Fortenberry crossed home on a throwing error by the catcher for the first run of the game. A&M 1, UT 0

T2| McKenzie Parker doubled to left before Shannon Rhodes homered to give the Longhorns the lead. UT 2, A&M 1

B7| Blake-Ann Fritsch blasted a double to left and scored on a throwing error to tie the game at two. A&M 2, UT 2

T8| Janae Jefferson delivered a double to left, advanced to second on a Reagan Hathaway bunt and touched home on a throwing error by the catcher. UT 3, A&M 2

Top Offensive Players:

Blake-Ann Fritsch| 1-for-3, 2B, R

Kelbi Fortenberry| 1-for-3, R, BB, SB

Kelly Martinez| 1-for-3, 2B

Pitching Breakdown:

Payton McBride (9-7) – L, 8.0 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 0 K, 2 BB

WHAT THEY SAID

Head Coach Jo Evans

Opening statement…

“I’m so proud of this team and the way we played this game. When I look back at how the season started with all of this youth and inexperience, and then I look at today and how we handled ourselves and played with confidence, expecting to win, makes me really proud of our ballclub. I thought Payton {McBride} threw a gem of a game and we put ourselves in a position to win a ball game. It’s a tough loss. We expected to come out and win this game and get ourselves on a bit of a roll, but I think this is a testament to our resiliency and how we’ve managed this season.”

On the future of the program…

“I said from day one that this has a chance to be a really special year. People would think that’s odd because we scrambled and lost a bunch of games. The reason I said that was if we could stay in the fight, keep our wits about us and stay together and not turn on each other, this would be the foundation of something very special. It is. You see where we started, where we are right now, all that talent we have in the young class, all the talent we have in the junior class that will now be seniors, and then the talent we have coming in and all of this experience. You take those freshmen, who started almost every single game. There’s no replacement for experience. You just have to have it. You have to go out there and actually do it. I feel it’s been a mission accomplished in terms of, can we stay in the fight and get better, and I think we’ve gotten a lot better.”

Senior Shortstop Riley Sartain

On the team’s offensive struggles lately…

“We were a little bit too slow to make adjustments and just trying to do a little too much instead of just relaxing, trusting in our abilities, trusting our work and allowing the process to take over.”

On her senior season…

“I’m so incredibly proud of this program. I didn’t tell anybody this, but after our first fall practice, coming off a very strong junior season and an extremely strong sophomore season, I shed a few tears because we were just not refined, not where I wanted to be, and coming off of that game just now, I am so incredibly proud of the product we’ve been able to put out there. The way our team has evolved over these past few months is something I will forever be proud of and forever be happy to call home and I’m so thankful for these girls. We’ve worked so hard this season. This has been one of the seasons of just grinding things out and finding a way to win games and I will cherish all of these moments forever.

Junior Pitcher Payton McBride

On the team’s offensive struggles lately…

“I think we sometimes put too much pressure on ourselves and allowed the game to be more than it was. It’s easier to play the game loose and relaxed than it was what we did out there.”

On what was working for her in the circle…

“I’ve just been fine-tuning my pitches. I always say this, but it’s going to the work I do in the week prior and what I’ve done all season to get to the point where I was. Trusting in my pitches, trusting in my defense and trusting in my hitters to be able to put up the runs and be able to make the plays that we made. I just allowed myself to let that happen instead of putting too much pressure on myself.”

 
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