FULLERTON, Calif. Despite a huge fifth-inning rally, the No. 14 Oklahoma softball team (22-8-1) fell short against No. 18 Texas A&M (19-8), 7-6, in the quarterfinals of the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif., Saturday evening. With the loss, the Sooners head to the consolation bracket for a 10:30 p.m. (CST) contest Saturday evening against the loser of the Cal-State Fullerton vs. Washington game. The consolation bracket game will mark OU’s final contest of the tournament.
In the high-scoring game against Texas A&M, the Sooners tallied 12 hits to the Aggies’ 10. In addition, each team recorded two costly errors apiece.
Senior Kristin Vesely sparked the Sooner offense in the top of the first with a two-out infield single. Freshman Samantha Ricketts followed with a double to left field to advance Vesely to third. On the ensuing play, junior Mariee Mena ripped a two RBI double to left center field and put the Sooners on the board first, 2-0.
The Aggies closed the gap in the bottom of the third after Jamie Hinshaw pounded a solo home run, her second of the tournament, over the right field fence to scored A&M’s first run of the game to change the score to 2-1, Oklahoma.
The Aggies went on a terror in the bottom of the fourth as the Aggies used a six-run, four-hit inning to take the lead, 7-3. Amanda Scarborough led it off with a solo home run to left field. Following a Holly Ridley RBI single and another run scored after a Sooner error, sophomore Jadyn Smith replaced OU starter Nicole Denes.
The senior hurler finished the game after allowing six runs, three unearned, on four hits while fanning four Aggie batters in 3.1 innings of work. Denes took the loss for the Sooners and fell to 5-3 on the year. Smith’s outing was short as she gave up an unearned run on one hit and stayed for one out in the third inning.
After freshman Morgan Hudsonpillar came in for relief of Smith, it was Scarborough again in the fourth frame as she sent a ground rule double to the left field corner to score two more runs and push the Aggies lead to 7-2, before Hudsonpillar could retire the final batter.
The Sooners answered back with a huge inning in return. After back-to-back solo home runs by Vesely and Ricketts, the Oklahoma offense got on a roll. Mena followed the back-to-back homers with a single to center field and junior Jamie Fox reached first on an error by the Aggies’ third baseman.
With runners at first and second, Hudsonpillar stepped to the plate for her first at bat in a Sooner uniform. The freshman smashed an RBI single to center field. One batter later, Dickson followed with an RBI single to center field to put the Sooners with in striking distance, but the Sooners wouldn’t score again as the final was Texas A&M 7, OU 6.
Offensively, Vesely was huge for the Sooners as she went 4-for-4 with a double and a home run. The center fielder leads the squad with a .500 batting average, 30 RBI and nine doubles on the year.
Other offensive leaders were Dickson, who recorded two hits with one RBI, and Mena, who added a team-best two RBI on two hits. Ricketts went 2-for-3 with her sixth home run of the year and second in consecutive games.
In the circle, OU’s Hudsonpillar allowed five hits and no runs in 1.2 innings of work, before freshman D.J. Mathis came in for the final two outs of the sixth inning. Mathis finished the inning with no hits in one batter faced as Mena made an impressive double play at first base to end the inning.
Texas A&M’s Megan Gibson (10-2) earned her 10th win of the season after throwing five complete innings and giving up six runs, four unearned, on 11 hits. Lisa Gorzycki earned her second save the of year after finishing the final two innings and allowing only one hit and no runs.
Oklahoma will have a two-hour break before facing the loser of Cal-State Fullerton and No. 15 Washington in the consolation bracket tonight.