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No. 9 Aggies Rally to Defeat No. 20 Kentucky, 4-3

COLLEGE STATION – The No. 9 Texas A&M softball rallied to defeat No. 20 Kentucky, 4-3, on a walk-off single from Kaitlyn Alderink Saturday afternoon at the Aggie Softball Complex.

Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth, Texas A&M’s  (36-9, 9-5 SEC) Erica Russell tied the game with a RBI single to center, before Alderink provided the late-game heroics in the seventh with a two-out walk-off single to left center, scoring Sarah Hudek.

Lexi Smith earned the seventh win of her senior campaign as she held Kentucky (25-13, 3-10 SEC) to four hits and only allowed two walks while recording a season high 10 strikeouts in 5.1 innings of relief. Kayla Poynter threw the first 1.2 innings of the game as she allowed four hits and struck out two.

Offensively, Russell led the Aggies with two hits, while Ashley Walters drove in the Aggies’ first runs of the game on a two-run homer to right. Alderink reached base three times on a single and two walks.

Kentucky’s Erin Rethlake suffered the loss to move to 7-4 on the season. The southpaw allowed two walks and two hits as she tossed two innings in relief. Grace Baalman, who earned the start for the Wildcats, allowed four hits, four walks and two runs as she struck out one.


KEY INNINGS

T2 | Brooklin Hinz led off the second with a single down the left field line before Abbey Cheek blasted a two-run homer to right. Mallory Peyton doubled down the left field line and was plated by a single from Bailey Vick. UK 3, A&M 0

B3 Tori Vidales reached base via a walk and came around to touch home as Ashley Walters delivered a two-run shot over the right field wall, her fourth of the season. UK 3, A&M 2

B6 | Kaitlyn Alderink led off the sixth with a walk and was moved into scoring position by a sacrifice bunt from Kristen CuyosErica Russell recorded an RBI on a single to center to plate Alderink. A&M 3, UK 3

B7 | Sarah Hudek earned a walk to start the frame and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Tori Vidales. With two outs, Alderink delivered the game-winning hit, plating Hudek. A&M 4, UK 3


Top Offensive Players:
Kaitlyn Alderink | 1-for-2, GW RBI, R, 2 BB
Erica Russell | 2-for-3, RBI
Ashley Walters | 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, R

Pitching Breakdown:
Kayla Poynter | ND, 1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 K
Lexi Smith | W, 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 10 K


AGGIE NOTES

  • Sarah Hudek extended her hitting streak to nine and has reached base in 10 consecutive games
  • Lexi Smith tied her season high in strikeouts, matching her performance against Marist (3/16)
  • Ashley Walters‘ two RBI give her 154 for her career, tying Rhi Kliesing (2008-11) for seventh all-time

WHAT THEY SAID

Texas A&M Head Coach Jo Evans

On Lexi Smith
“She was terrific. She went out there with great confidence. We know she is going to walk some kids. That’s just her MO. It’s going to happen, but when she needed to throw strikes and get big outs, she got them. There were some key strikeouts that she had out there. She gave us a chance to stay in the game. When we give up three runs early like that, we needed someone to stop the bleeding, and she did a great job of that. Everyone roots for her because she’s the one that does that for everyone else. She is the spirit of our dugout. She is in and ready to play. She has come back and been so good. When she attacks the strike zone, she is tough to beat.”

On Erica Russell and her game-tying RBI in the sixth…
“That kid has been nails. She has been so good at the plate. She’s the kid on our team that gets multiple hits in the game. She was the only one. She was huge for us with that RBI in the bottom of our order in the sixth. I am thinking in the fifth and sixth that we have to turn this thing over and get the top of our order up there, and she made that happen. She got a big RBI. I am really excited about what she was doing out there today.”

On Kaitlyn Alderink and her game-winning hit…
“I love that kid so much. We have always had her in the two spot in the lineup, and we moved her way down in the order when she was struggling. Then we put her in the five and it feels weird every time I put her name in the five. What she has done is get herself on base. She has drawn a ton of walks and is seeing the ball really well. She really stepped up in that situation and was looking to hit. I love that. She got up there looking to hit and drive the ball. There is not one kid on that 21-person roster that does not absolutely love Kaitlyn Alderink. The fact that it was her, I guarantee it makes it that much more special for everybody. That kid is a lovable, unselfish die-hard Aggie. She is all in, and it is spectacular to see her get the walk-off.”

On Ashley Walter’s two-run homerun in the third…
“It is really nice to see Ashley getting more and more comfortable at the plate. We needed her to come around, and she is doing that. To go opposite on a day like today when you aren’t going to get anything over the wall in left or center because of the way the wind was blowing, Ashley just got all of it and stayed in it. I think her swing looks really good right now. It was really clutch and a clutch time for us because we needed to break the ice and score a run there. To me, it made all of the difference in the world for our offense to not go too late into the game without scoring any runs.”

On an exciting win…
“I tell our kids all the time to go out there and have fun and have fun playing ball with your friends. It is supposed to be fun. It is not supposed to feel like stress. If someone is going to be stressed, let it be me. Don’t let it be them because they are out there playing the game they love with opportunities to celebrate so many times like today.”


ON DECK 
The Aggies go for the sweep against Kentucky Sunday at 2 p.m. The game can be seen on the SEC Network.


STAY CONNECTED
Fans can follow the Aggies wherever they go by following @AggieSoftball on Instagram and Twitter or on Facebook at Facebook.com/TAMUSoftball.

Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics

Short URL: http://wtaw.com/?p=124112

Posted by on Apr 14 2018. Filed under Sports.
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