Grand slam leads Texas A&M softball team past LSU

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Amber Garza hit her second grand slam of the season as No. 10 Texas A&M topped No. 13 LSU 6-2 on Friday in the Southeastern Conference series opener at the Aggie Softball Complex.

The Aggies (34-7, 6-6) and Tigers (33-9, 9-4) play again at 4 p.m. Saturday on ESPN.

On Friday night, Texas A&M came out swinging in the bottom of the first inning, setting the table for Garza’s grand slam.

Cassie Tysarczyk started the big inning with a one-out single up the middle, then stole second before Mel Dumezich reached on a walk. With runners on first and second and two outs, Jenna Stark stepped up to the plate and hammered a pitch to the fence in left. The ball bounced at the top of the wall and landed inside the stadium for an RBI double, scoring Tysarczyk for a 1-0 lead.

Cali Lanphear followed with a walk to load the bases before Garza stepped to the plate against LSU ace Rachele Fico. Garza cranked a ball over the fence in right to push A&M to a 5-0 lead.

LSU continued to put runners on, reaching third base in the second and third innings, but the Aggies stranded them both times.

Stark hit her second double of the game in the bottom of the third, and Dumezich added a base hit. Stark was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored, while Dumezich was 1-for-1 with a run scored and two walks.

The Tigers scored their first run of the night in the top of the fifth on an RBI single by Sandra Simmons. But the big play of the inning came when A.J. Andrews attempted to score on Jacee Blades’ single through the middle. A&M’s Emily Albus fired a bullet to the plate, and catcher Meagan May applied the sweep tag on Andrews.

Leading 5-1 in the bottom of the sixth, A&M struck again. Lanphear led off with a bunt single and was pushed to second when May was hit by a pitch. Allison Garrett entered to run at first before a passed ball sent the pair into scoring position. With two outs, Albus singled to the first baseman, scoring Lanphear for the unearned run.

Bianka Bell hit a leadoff homer in the top of the seventh, but A&M closed out a 6-2 win.

Dumezich (23-5) threw nine strikeouts for the Aggies. Fico (20-6) fired five strikeouts but allowed five earned runs on seven hits and four walks.