COLLEGE STATION – Texas A&M Softball took the series against the No. 18 Arkansas Razorbacks with a 4-1 victory behind a stellar performance at the plate from Kelbi Fortenberry, Monday evening at Davis Diamond.
Fortenberry matched her career-high in hits and RBI as she went 3-for-4 at the plate and knocked in four runs. This marked the 15th multi-hit game of her junior campaign and the 24th of her career.
The Maroon & White (27-22, 5-16 SEC) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the third and added two insurance runs in the sixth with all four RBI credited to Fortenberry.
Kendall Potts threw the first 6.1 innings of the game, allowing seven hits and one run while walking four and striking out five. Payton McBride earned her first save of the season, eighth of her career as she only gave up one hit and fanned one to record the final two outs of the game.
B3 | Blake-Ann Fritsch singled through the right side and advanced on a wild pitch before Taudrea Sinnie earned a walk. Kelbi Fortenberrydelivered a two-RBI double to center to give the Aggies a 2-0 lead. A&M 2, ARK 0
B6 | Riley Sartain and Haley Lee reached on defensive errors from the Arkansas second baseman and shortstop, before Morgan Smith and Fritsch each reached base on back-to-back fielder’s choices to load the bases for Fortenberry. The junior delivered a two-RBI single up the middle. A&M 4, ARK 0
T7 | Aly Manzo earned a walk to start the seventh, advanced to third after a single by Hannah McEwen and walk to Sydney Parr and touched home on a Danielle Gibson single up the middle. A&M 4, ARK 1
WHAT THEY SAID
Head Coach Jo Evans
On winning the series…
“We came into this series knowing if we don’t win a couple games in these last two series, then we’re not even .500. Coming into Saturday, I talked about this being a defining moment for our ballclub and saying there’s not a team in the country that can help us with our standings. A lot of times you can look and say ‘oh, if they lose and we win…,’ but none of that can help us. Only we can help us. I thought that our team came to play, and defense was the difference this weekend. I felt like our pitchers were great. They’ve been good enough to win games before, but our defense hasn’t take care of business. Therefore, I thought defense made the big difference. Then, of course, our pitchers, Payton [McBride] and Kendall [Potts], were outstanding this weekend.”
On Kelbi Fortenberry’s performance at the plate…
“She was locked in. Her first at bat she kind of rolled over that one, and then she just settled in. She didn’t try to do too much with it, and I thought she did a really good job staying right on the ball and go with the pitch. You saw how she went both sides of the field, and she’s so clutch. She’s capable of doing that. We went into this game feeling like we were going to use the lefties we had in our lineup to see if we can create a little more opportunities, and it worked. Those lefties set the table for Kelbi, and she got out there and took care of business.”
On how Kendall Potts has improved…
“It was a long time since she has pitched over at Baylor. She wasn’t strong, hasn’t lifted, and her body wasn’t ready to do what we’re asking her to do in this season. So it took time for her to build and develop. Also, it took time mentally and emotionally to match that kind of physicality for the kind of grind you’re going to have in this conference. I think it’s unlike anything she has experienced in the past, so I’m very proud of her for staying with it. She’s been somebody that we can count on for several weeks now, and it’s really nice to see her have success after the challenges she faced before.”
Junior OF Kelbi Fortenberry
On Arkansas’ pitcher Autumn Storms…
“We watched film all week to catch her tendencies and to figure out what pitches she uses to get ahead of batters. My goal was to try and attack the first pitch, since I knew she was going to work hard for the first few to get called a strike. I didn’t want her to have the opportunity to throw her change-up which has been catching hitters off balance all season.”
On the first series win of the season…
“This is huge for us, since we haven’t been able to pull one out this year. This gives us momentum heading into postseason.”
Junior RHP Kendall Potts
On her pitching approach for this game compared to game one…
“We went in thinking Arkansas wasn’t going to swing at the first few strikes since they didn’t in the other games. I approached it as they were going to change their mind and look for the first strike to swing at, which some of the batters did and others didn’t. I was adjusting as I went through the lineup.”
On throwing with a lead…
“I always tell myself to trust the pitches I’m throwing and know where they’re supposed to go. Having a lead doesn’t change my mindset. I’m just the one that is throwing the pitch. I throw what is called and whatever happens after that happens.”
The Aggies travel to Knoxville, Tenn. to take on the Lady Volunteers in a three-game series beginning Friday at 5:00 p.m.
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