OKLAHOMA CITY- An RBI triple by Kelsey Spittler in the ninth inning lifted the fifth-seeded Texas A&M softball team (57-8) to its first appearance in the championship series of the 2008 Women's College World Series since 1987. The Aggies posted a 1-0 victory over the top-seeded Florida Gators (70-5) in front of 4,928 fans at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in an elimination game on Sunday.
"I am really proud of my team," A&M head coach Jo Evans said. "I thought it was a tough first game for us and it certainly did not go the way we planned. For our kids to regroup, come back and play as well as we did, says a lot about our team and their mental toughness. I have been talking about that throughout this postseason and how composed they are."
It was a pitcher's duel for both teams as the Gators' Stacey Nelson and the Aggies' Megan Gibson posted zeros though eight complete.
The Aggies continued to put pressure on Florida's defense, placing runners on base in six of the game's nine innings until they finally pushed a single run across in the top half of the final frame.
Sophomore Macie Morrow laced a two-out single through the right side to bring up the left-handed Spittler. The Caldwell, Texas-native got the best of a 0-2 inside pitch, driving the ball down the first base line into the right field corner. The ball ricocheted off the fence allowing Morrow to race home from first.
Disappointed in her loss and early exit in the first game of the day, Gibson (41-2) came back stronger than ever. The senior hurler posted her 21st shutout of the season scattering seven hits while striking out six and walking just one Gator hitter.
After going 2-for-4 with two homeruns in game one, Gibson held Francesca Enea hitless in the nightcap.
Nelson (47-5) was charged with the loss, working all nine innings in the circle for the Gators. The junior righty allowed one run on six hits, fanning two Aggie hitters while walking three.
With the win, A&M set the single-season win record (57) which was previously held by the 1987 and 1994 teams.
The Aggies are the first Big 12 team to reach the championship series since Oklahoma won the title in 2000.
A&M is set to face Arizona State on Monday at 7 p.m. in the first game of the best-of-three series. First pitch can be seen on ESPN2 and heard locally in Bryan/College Station on Sports Radio 1150 the Zone. Live stats will be available on aggieathletics.com.
The Aggies and Sun Devils were 2007 WCWS participants, both making a quick exit after dropping their first two games.
THEN THERE WERE TWO!
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