No. 9-seed Texas A&M softball saw its storybook 2017 season come to an end Saturday in the Women’s College World Series with an 8-2 loss to No. 5-seed UCLA at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium.
A&M ended the season with a 47-13 record, the Aggies’ best showing since 2008.
The loss ends the careers of Reagan Boenker and Celena Massey, who became the first senior class to take their team back to the WCWS in nine seasons.
The Bruins, one of the country’s top home-run hitting teams, flexed their muscle in the first. With one out, Kylee Perez hit the first pitch she saw just over the fence in center field to stake UCLA to an early 1-0 lead.
Two walks and a base hit loaded the bases for the Bruins in the second. With two outs, Delaney Spaulding laced a 1-1 pitch into right field, plating two runs to make the score 3-0.
A key double play turned by Trinity Harrington kept UCLA off the board in the third and allowed her to settle in in the circle, holding the Bruins scoreless until the final frame.
With two outs in the fourth, Riley Sartain worked the count to 2-2 before depositing the next pitch into the bleachers in center field. The home run, her 13th of the season, gave the Aggies their first run of the weekend.
UCLA attempted a double steal with runners at the corners in the sixth, but the Aggie defense turned a wild double play. A throw through to second was cut off by shortstop Kristen Cuyos, and her ball home pulled catcher Ashley Walters into the line where she tagged out the runner home. Laying on her side, Walters then threw to third to get the other Bruin in a rundown and end the frame.
The Bruins tacked on a pair in the seventh off Harrington and added three more off reliever Payton McBride.
Massey, making a pinch-hit appearance in Texas A&M’s final at-bat, provided a moment her and the program won’t soon forget. The senior drove a 1-0, two-out pitch over the fence in left—her fifth and final career home run.
Harrington (14-4) went 6 1/3 and allowed nine hits, five runs (four earned) while walking three and striking out two.
Garcia (23-8) earned the victory, going six innings and allowing three hits, one earned run and two walks while striking out a pair.