OKLAHOMA CITY – A pitchers duel between two National Player of the Year finalists was decided by a defensive miscue as Texas A&M (55-7) defeated Virginia Tech (49-18) by a 1-0 score on Thursday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
Texas A&M, the No. 5 seed in the tournament, advances to face Louisiana-Lafayette at 6 pm CDT on Friday in a winners bracket game. Virginia Tech will face top seeded Florida in an elimination game at 11 am CDT on Saturday.
The Hokies out-hit A&M by a 5-2 margin, but the Aggies were the first team to put a runner in scoring position. Second baseman Natalie Villarreal singled to lead off the fourth inning, was sacrificed to second by Megan Gibson and went to third on a passed ball before two of Angela Tincher’s nine strikeouts closed out the inning with the game remaining scoreless.
In the fifth, Jessica Everhart led off the inning for Virginia Tech and want to second on a two-out single by Caroline Stolle. The pattern repeated itself in the sixth as Chrisse Mariconda singled with one out in the inning and advanced to second on a Kelsey Hoffman single, but Jessica Everhart popped out to end the inning and the threat.
Unfortunately, it was a miscue by Mariconda with two outs in the top of the seventh inning that made the difference in the game. Rhiannon Kliesing opened the rally with a one-out single and pinch runner Andrea Tovar was sacrificed to second by Villareal. Gibson then grounded to third base and was safe on a Mariconda error, allowing Tovar to score from second base, accounting for the final score of 1-0.
Megan Gibson got the win in the circle for Texas A&M, improving to 39-1 on the season. Gibson struck out nine and did not allow a walk while scattering five hits and pitching around two defensive errors.
Tincher took the loss for Virginia Tech, falling to 38-9 on the season. Tincher also struck out nine and did not allow an earned run allowing two hits.
The victory was Texas A&M’s first at the Women’s College World Series in 20 years, since an elimination bracket victory over Northern Illinois in 1988.