COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Holly Ridley belted a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the ninth to give the No. 21 Texas A&M Aggies a 6-5 win over No. 10 Arizona in front of 1,162 at Aggie Softball Complex on Friday night.
Ridley's homer - which hit the top of the wall before bouncing over in right field - was the first and only home run of the night for A&M. Arizona scored all five runs off of three long balls.
Rhiannon Kliesing (7-4) tossed all nine inning for the Aggies, throwing 171 pitches. She struck out 10 and gave up five earned runs. Lindsey Sisk pitched the first three innings for the Cats, giving up two earned runs and striking out two. Sarah Akamine (7-1) came in to pitch with Arizona still leading in the Aggie fourth. She gave up four earned runs on eight hits, and struck out four in suffering her first loss of the season. Both the Aggies and Wildcats scattered 13 hits off of opposing pitching. Sam Banister accounted for five of the Wildcats' hits, going a perfect 5-for-5 in the contest.
Both teams left two runners on base in their first at-bats. K'Lee Arredondo reached on fielder's choice after Brittany Lastrapes walked for the Wildcats, and Banister nabbed a two-out infield single. But second base was as far as Arredondo reached, as Stacie Chambers grounded out to end the half.
A&M picked up two hits in their half, including a single by leadoff hitter Natalie Villarreal. After a walk moved her to second, Erin Glasco singled into short centerfield, but Villarreal was cut down at home after a perfect throw from Schutzler. A strikeout ended the inning.
Lini Koria jacked a three-run bomb, her fourth of the season, in the Arizona third. Base hits by Jenae Leles and Banister sandwiched between two outs put the freshman at the plate, who smashed the first pitch she saw just to the left of the scoreboard in right center.
Arizona led 3-0 until the bottom half, when the Aggies plated two of their own. Villarreal picked up her second hit of the game, a double into the right centerfield gap. An out later, Ridley knocked her in with a double into the same spot. Ridley scored on a Kelsey Spittler single after a groundout, but Lastrapes ran down a short popup to end the inning with A&M one down, 3-2.
UA lead off the fifth with back-to-back homers. Banister teed off with her fourth home run of the season, a shot on a 3-2 count to left center. Chambers followed up with her eighth, a bomb over the right center wall. Three strikeouts in four at-bats ended the inning with the Cats up 5-2.
Chambers was robbed of another RBI in the sixth, when Kelsea Orsak laid out to make a catch in centerfield. Lastrapes had singled and moved to second and third on a sacrifice bunt and a Banister base hit, respectively. Then Chambers laced the ball into the gap, but Orsak, in full stride, dove to take away the hit and end the inning.
The Aggies tied the game in their half of the sixth. A&M led off with consecutive doubles, cutting the margin to two. An out later, Kara Rau hit a hard grounder off the glove of Leles, scoring Alex Reynolds and bringing Texas A&M within one. Villarreal tallied her second double of the game, scoring Andrea Tovar - who was running in place of Rau. A groundout ended the half, tied at 5.
Both pitchers retired the side in the seventh to head to extra innings.
Arizona put two runners on in the eighth, courtesy of a one-out single by Lastrapes - her third hit of the game, and a two-out walk to Leles. Banister singled up the middle for her fifth hit of the game, but shortstop Macie Morrow ran it down at the lip of the infield and threw home to nab Lastrapes.
A&M loaded the bases with one out in the bottom half on two hits and a hit batter, but a forceout at home and a strikeout ended the threat.
Up Next: Arizona takes on the Aggies, same time and place (6 p.m. CT), on Saturday night. Fans can catch the action live, courtesy of Texas A&M All-Access, by clicking here.