Aggies fall to ASU in championship series

After one of the most successful season in recent Texas A&M athletics history, the Aggie softball team, which captured an entire alumni base over the last two weeks, fell short against Arizona State.

OKLAHOMA CITY- The fifth-seeded Texas A&M softball team (57-10) ended its run through the 2008 Women's College World Series with an 11-0 loss to the sixth-seeded Arizona State Sun Devils (66-5) in the second game of a best-of-three series on Tuesday night at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

"It has been a great season for our team and our program," A&M head coach Jo Evans said. "Obviously really disappointing the way it ended tonight. I thought our kids fought really hard. It is a shame that things turned out the way they did in the seventh because I did not want our kids to leave here feeling they do not deserve to be out there on championship day. They did everything they needed to do to deserve to be out there."

The victory earned the Sun Devils their first national championship in school history.

The Sun Devils' deciding run came in the top of the third inning when Jessica Mapes led off the inning with a single into leftfield. ASU shortstop Rhiannon Baca laid down a sac bunt to move Mapes into scoring position before Jackie Vasquez laced a shot into left centerfield putting ASU up 1-0.

Jamie Hinshaw, Natalie Villarreal and Megan Gibson recorded hits for the Aggies in the second, fourth and sixth innings respectively. Sophomore Bailey Schroeder, who came on to pinch hit in the bottom of the seventh, added A&M's final hit of the night.

Gibson ended her Aggie career at 41-4 on the mound for the Aggies this season. The three-time All-American tossed seven complete innings, allowing 11 runs on 10 hits while striking out five ASU hitters and walking three.

"I am really proud of our kids and they way they handled themselves," Evans noted. "Particularly Megan and how she handled herself out there, and not just today but for the entire season. All the pressure she had on her, which I don't think she realized. She has just been so steady and tough as nails. She is a tremendous teammate and player for me to coach. It is really an honor to coach this team and to coach this senior class has been great."

Katie Burkhart (41-5) recorded the win for Arizona State surrendering just four hits while fanning 13 and walking one.

It was the first time all season A&M has lost a series and just the third time this year the Aggies have been held scoreless.

The Aggies ended their 2008 season with a school-best 57 wins, earning their second Big 12 regular season title and first ever Big 12 Championship tournament title en route to a second consecutive, seventh all-time Women's College World Series appearance.

Seniors Gibson and Jami Lobpries were named the WCWS All-Tournament team. Lobpries recorded a double, a run scored, and a RBI off four hits and two walks in tournament play.

Gibson was 3-3 in WCWS play, recording two complete game shutouts, striking out 29 batters through 39.2 innings of work. At the plate, Gibson logged three hits, including two doubles and four walks.

"I know that there will come a day when we look back at this and feel really excited about what we did here," Evans ended. "Right now, obviously, we are sad and disappointed but we are a completely different team than we were last year at this time. We really did work hard in the offseason to fill some holes to get some more depth and options. To do what we have done with Gibson throwing all our games is a testament to our team."

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