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Photo by Chris Swann, TexAgs
Texas A&M Softball

No. 17 Aggies split doubleheader with loss to Kansas, win over NDSU

February 24, 2024

Game #13: Kansas 1, No. 17 Texas A&M 0
Records: Texas A&M (12-1), Kansas (8-5-1)
WP: Kasey Hamilton (1-4)
LP: Shaylee Ackerman (3-1)

What goes up, must come down.

The Maroon & White’s 12-game winning streak came to an end with a 1-0 loss to Kansas in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader in the Texas A&M Invitational.

With both squads steadily chipping away at one another, A&M and Kansas were deadlocked at 0-0 for six of the seven innings played.

It was mostly a battle of defenses. The Aggies and Jayhawks desperately waited to see who would crack first.

“Our defense has been solid. We made some big throws,” Texas A&M head coach Trisha Ford said. “That’s actually been a big improvement for us.”

“I feel like in the years past we get a little emotional when we get up to bat. And then we take it out on defense and I think they’ve done a really good job of compartmentalizing the two of them. That’s hard.”

The Aggies only recorded four hits as they were stunned by KU pitcher Kasey Hamilton, who tossed a complete-game shutout with three strikes.

Chris Swann, TexAgs
Shaylee Ackerman struck out six batters while allowing five hits against Kansas.

“I’m interested to see what [Hamilton] was doing to us,” Ford said. “Obviously, my lens is jaded, but I just believe in this team and what they’re capable of doing. And so I was surprised the second and third time around with the same pitcher that she was able to keep us off balance.”

KU designated hitter Olivia Bruno smashed a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning to decide the outcome. 

Alas, the Aggies weren’t able to answer.

“I felt like we chased a little bit too much. I mean we’re gonna have to go and figure out and attack those types of pitches,” Ford said. “But [Hamilton] competed. She threw the changeup effectively… But we just couldn't string some kind of hits together.”

Ford added: “We will obviously go back to the drawing tables and watch film and address what happened. But when you play 56 games in a year, you can’t dwell on the ugliness or the really high highs. I mean you’ve got to just keep going and one game at a time.

“Tip your hat off for Kansas. They beat us. You got to give them some respect, but at the end of the day, my money is still on us.”

Game #14: No. 17 Texas A&M 10, North Dakota State 0 (5 innings)
Records: Texas A&M (13-1), North Dakota State (6-10)
WP: Emiley Kennedy (6-0)
LP: Addie Bowers (1-2) 

Texas A&M entered the second game looking like a brand new team.

They got back into their run-rule groove, finishing North Dakota State University in five innings once again, 10-0.

Junior lefty Emiley Kennedy started the game with 70 mph pitching, striking out NDSU’s first batter. Kennedy tossed all five innings, striking out four, and earned her sixth win of the season.

“I think ‘Lefty’ did a great job of coming out and silencing their bats and was able to let our offense keep going,” Ford said.

“I expect that out of us. I would’ve liked to see a little bit better focus in the first game than in the second game. But sometimes you need a little gut check for us to refocus.“
- A&M head coach Trisha Ford

Quickly scoring two runs during the bottom of the first, the Aggies started to take advantage of their lead.

In total, they pounded five home runs, including two from Rylen Wiggins. Her first immediately followed a homer by Allie Enright in the third. The second came an inning later as she sent a three-run bomb over left field.

“I expect that out of us,” Ford said of the Aggie offense. “I would’ve liked to see a little bit better focus in the first game than in the second game. But sometimes you need a little gut check for us to refocus.“

A sudden change on offense between both games, Ford hopes to establish more consistency going forward.

“I challenged them,” Ford said. “I said ‘What do you want this to be? Do you want [it] to be a day that we split or a day that we turn in two Ls?’ And so I said ‘You’ve got to refocus. There’s nothing we can absolutely do with that game. It’s over. It’s done with. Let’s flush it.’” 

The Aggies did just that.

Ford & Co. will close the 2024 Texas A&M Invitational on Sunday vs. UTSA. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT.

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No. 17 Aggies split doubleheader with loss to Kansas, win over NDSU

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