Freshman Courtney Oberg’s three-run home run sparked a four-run third inning that propelled Baylor to a 7-4 win over Big 12 foe Texas A&M Saturday afternoon at the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
The Bears (51-15) move into a match-up with Northwestern in Saturday’s nightcap, while Texas A&M, who lost its third straight WCWS game dating back to 1988, concludes its season with a 46-14 mark. The Bears improved to 3-0 on the year against the Aggies, marking the first time Baylor has swept the season series since 2000.
Leading 2-1, Baylor kicked off the four-run third with an Ashley Monceaux double, her second of three hits in the game. Following a Kirsten Shortridge line-out, Monceaux scored on a Brette Reagan sacrifice bunt that was thrown away by Aggie pitcher Amanda Scarborough. Senior catcher Chelsi Lake walked and Oberg followed with her three-run blast, the seventh of the season, that landed just short of the 300-foot permanent fence in left-center field.
“I felt pretty good. I pretty much knew it was gone when it left the bat,” BU head coach Glenn Moore said. “It was a great swing on a great pitch. I guess it was left up a little bit, and she took advantage of it. This team came to play. They have always responded when we have had a disappointing loss.”
That proved to be the run support Lisa Ferguson would need as she allowed four runs, three earned, on seven this with five strikeouts in moving to 26-8 on the year.
The Aggie offense tried to rally in support of starter Amanda Scarborough, but it wasn’t enough as she finished the season 26-10 after surrendering six runs, five earned, on six hits in two and two-thirds innings. The five earned runs tied her season high that was previously established against Texas Tech and Arizona earlier this year.
Megan Gibson hurled the final three and one-thirds, allowing a Baylor sixth-inning run on a Monceaux single while surrendering three hits.
The four-run frame followed a two-run first that seized the lead from the Aggies. A&M jumped on top in the opening inning as Megan Gibson, the third batter of the game, launched a two-out, solo home run over the fence in right field. The home run was the 14th of the season for Gibson, and it extends her school career home run record to 42 round-trippers.
“That was a classic Baylor-Texas A&M match-up. There are not usually a whole lot of runs scored – it is kind of ironic that we get to the World Series and put up that kind of offense both ways,” Moore said. “We never thought once that they would quit after we put up six runs. I don’t think they we would quit after (Megan) Gibson hit her home run. It was an exciting game with a lot of great defensive plays, robbed home runs and some great pitches thrown. It was an exciting game to be a part of as a coach and I’m sure to watch as a fan.”
Baylor answered right back in the bottom half of the first, taking a 2-1 advantage as Lake, who drove in two runs in the game, doubled to score Shortridge and Reagan.
The Aggies chipped away at the lead with two runs in the fifth that cut the lead in half at 6-3. Three consecutive one-out singles from Macie Morrow, Joy Davis and Holly Ridley set the stage for Jamie Hinshaw’s two-run single with two outs in the frame.
“It was one of those games where I felt like we ran out of time,” Texas A&M head coach Jo Evans said. “Our kids were really fired up and playing as hard as we could play. This game was a tough one to swallow. Congratulations to Baylor on a fantastic season – they did a nice job.”
A&M made it a 6-4 game as it added another run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly from Morrow that scored Jami Lobpries. Morrow almost added another home run for the Aggies in the second, but her shot to right field was snagged by Shortridge who reached over the fence to make the run-saving catch.