Kenton Means, Sports Information Director
COMMERCE, Texas – The Aggie softball claimed the South Central Regional 2 Tournament title with a pair of wins against No. 8 Texas A&M-Commerce on Saturday.
In their third straight elimination game of the tournament, the Aggies found themselves in a slugfest with the host team TAMUC, as the two teams combined for 22 runs and 24 hits.
The Lions struck first scoring a run in the bottom of the second inning, but the Aggies answered right back with a five spot in the top of the third. Breley Webb singled through the right side to get things started, bringing home both Brenna Busby and Kaylyn Smith. Khmari Edwards then crossed the plate on a passed ball, which was followed by a Kylie French double that put two more runs on the scoreboard.
In the bottom of the frame, Commerce got two back on a Kinsie Hebler two-run homer, but CU came right back with a four-run inning in the next half inning. Edwards drew a bases loaded walk for the first run, and then Webb hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Smith. French then came up big again driving a ball to left field to bring home Edwards. CU pulled off a double steal to score the fourth run of the inning.
After a scoreless fifth, the Aggies added to their lead with two runs to take an 11-3 advantage. The two runs scored on a pair of RBI singles by C. Busby and Abbey Warren.
Another solo homer by Hebler and a three-run shot from Vanessa Muro in the bottom of the sixth got the Lions back to within four at 11-7. The Black and Gold got two of those runs back in the top of the seventh on B. Busby’s 19th home run of the season, a two-run bomb that put CU back up by six.
Texas A&M-Commerce made CU fans nervous in the bottom of the final frame thanks to a pair of solo home runs by Hebler, her third of the game, and Bri Sims, but Webb was able to finish off the frame and keep her team’s season alive.
Six Aggie hitters totaled two hits in game one, as both Webb and French both had three RBI and B. Busby drove in two on her 44th career homer.
In the winner-take-all game, the Lions jumped out to an early 3-0 lead with a single run in the second and two more in the third.
Cameron once again answered quickly with three runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth inning. With two outs already away in the inning, Warren hit an infield single to drive home Edwards, which was followed by a two RBI double by Raley Long.
The Aggies extended their lead to 5-3 with two more runs in the fifth. Edwards drove in Smith on a shallow fly ball to center field and then Webb and C. Busby used back-to-back doubles to score the second run of the inning.
However, in the top of the sixth, Commerce tied the game on a two RBI double by Kayla Kilcrease. CU threatened to take back the lead in the bottom of the frame thanks to a pair of singles by Long and Smith, but they were unable to bring a run home.
In the top of the seventh, Hines recorded two quick outs, striking out Hebler and getting Avery Boley to groundout. A Sims single made things interesting, but the junior from Washington, Okla. was able to get Muro to groundout on the first pitch to end the inning.
Cameron had the heart of their order coming up to end the game in the bottom of the seventh. Edwards grounded out and, after battling in an eight pitch at-bat, Webb popped out to the third baseman. That left the game up to the Aggies’ tough backstop C. Busby. The junior fell behind worked the count to 2-2 and then on the fifth pitch of the at-bat launched a ball over the right center field fence to end the game and punch CU’s ticket to the Super Regional.
Cameron got two-hit outings from both C. Busby and Long, who both had two RBI’s as well.
Hines battled for her 16th win of the season, despite giving up the five runs on seven hits and five walks. She also struck out five Lion hitters in her 55th victory of her CU career.
The Aggies now have 37 wins on the season, riding a four game win streak into their Super Regional matchup with Texas A&M-Kingsville. The two teams will play a best of three game series, May 16-17, in Kingsville to determine who will move on to the Division II Softball Colelge World Series.