Feb. 20, 2008
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -
Stephen F. Austin opened with a solid effort Wednesday against No. 3 Texas A&M, but with the Ladyjacks scuffling against an All-American pitching staff, the Aggie offense gave A&M all it needed to collect the doubleheader sweep. A&M won the first game, 7-1, then took a 3-0 victory in the nightcap, handing SFA its first losses of the 2008 season.
The Ladyjacks are now 4-2 on the year, while Texas A&M improves to 11-2.
In Game 1, SFA played the Aggies closely through three-and-a-half innings behind a strong performance by freshman pitcher Monika Covington, but the Ladyjacks were done in by a big A&M fourth inning.
Benet Higgs led off the game with a full-count double over the head of center fielder Jami Lobpries, but she was stranded in scoring position by two strikeouts and a pop-out.
Texas A&M scratched in the bottom half. Natalie Villareal led off with a walk then stole second after Covington got the next two batters to pop out. But the Aggies' leading hitter, Amanda Scarborough, came through with a double to left-center that scored Villareal.
The Aggies loaded the bases in the bottom of the second but could only get one run on a sacrifice fly by Villareal. Covington got the next batter, Macie Morrow, to ground out to Jessica Tullos at first base, ending the inning.
Kendal Harper led off the top of the third with a base knock down the left-field line that spun away from A&M's Kelsey Spittler for an inside-the-park home run, making the score 2-1. Two batters later, Higgs reached on an error by Morrow at short, then stole second, but Scarborough got the next two hitters out to save further damage.
Texas A&M put together a quick response, leading off the bottom half with a pair of singles by Megan Gibson and Scarborough. But Covington cut down Gibson at third on a fielder's choice by Jamie Hinshaw for the first out then got Glasco on strikes. SFA got out of the inning when Lobpries bounced one off the plate and catcher Kim Daley threw her out at first.
Daley reached on a fielder's choice in the fourth, then stole second to get into scoring position with one out, but Scarborough got out of the inning on two straight punchouts.
The Aggies broke the game open with a five-hit, five-run fourth inning. A&M put two on with one out thanks to a base hit up the middle and a walk. After Morrow popped out to Harper in right, Gibson lifted a three-run homer to left field to give the Aggies a 5-1 lead. The next two batters singled, and Glasco brought them both in with a double to right-center, before Covington got out of the inning with a ground ball to second.
Harper led off the fifth with a single through the right side, and SFA loaded the bases when pinch hitter Moriah Davis was hit by a pitch then Briana Bishop drew a two-out walk. But Scarborough got Tullos on strikes to end the threat.
Covington bounced back in the bottom of the fifth, putting the Aggies down in order with a pair of strikeouts, and she allowed just one hit and no runs over the final two innings, but SFA failed to put a runner in scoring position in the sixth or seventh.
Covington (2-1) allowed six earned runs on 10 hits and three walks with three strikeouts. Harper went 3-for-3, notching all but one of the Ladyjacks' four hits, with Higgs' double being the other.
In the second game, A&M got on the board early and padded its lead with a pair of long balls, while stifling the SFA bats to collect the sweep.
After each team went quietly in the first inning and SFA failed to scratch in the top of the second, A&M took advantage of a Ladyjack miscue in the bottom half to draw first blood. Hinshaw doubled to right-center with one out to get the inning going. The next batter, Glasco, hit sharply back at pitcher Lauren Luetge. Luetge knocked the ball down and looked to third before overthrowing Tullos at first base. Hinshaw scored on the play, and Glasco wound up at second. Luetge got the next two batters to end the inning.
After a scoreless third inning, the Aggies chased Luetge from the circle in the bottom of the fourth with solo home runs from Alex Reynolds and Glasco. Junior Kari Hugie came on in the relief and escaped the inning without further damage.
Hugie was able to hold the Aggies scoreless from there but SFA couldn't solve A&M pitcher Rhiannon Kleising. The Ladyjacks had just two hits in the second game, one each from Bishop and Harper.
Harper finished the day 4-for-6 overall.
Luetge (1-1) lasted three-and-a-third innings. Two of her three runs were earned, and she recorded two strikeouts before getting lifted. Hugie worked the final two-and-two-thirds and allowed no runs on two hits and no walks with one strikeout.
SFA will return to action Friday, when the Ladyjacks open play in the Northwestern State NSU Invitational.
-- SFA --