LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Redshirt senior center fielder Laura King (R-Sr., Camarillo, Calif., UNLV) posted three hits and an RBI to lead the CSU Bakersfield softball team in Saturday's season-opening action at the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament at UCLA's Easton Stadium where the 'Runners fell to McNeese State 4-2 and No. 17 Texas A&M 7-1.
The 'Runners battled tough against Texas A&M through the first six innings of the game, staying within two runs. The Aggies jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning and added to it when Nicole Morgan hit a solo homer to left field in the sixth inning.
In the bottom of the six, freshman right fielder Sydney Raeber (Hanford, Calif., Hanford HS) reached on an error and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore second baseman Adrianna Cardoza (Santa Anna, Calif., La Quinta HS). King then drove in Raeber on a single to right field to cut the Aggies' lead in half.
Texas A&M answered in the top of the seventh when Morgan hit her second homer of the game, a grand slam, to put the game away.
"I think we proved that we can hang with big name teams," said CSUB head coach Crissy Buck. "Texas A&M is a great hitting team, and they beat us, but in the same breath, we beat ourselves. I am proud of us, proud of what we showed today and know that this is only the beginning of what we are going to be able to accomplish this season."
Sophomore catcher Ashley Carter (Tehachapi, Calif., Tehachapi HS) also got a single in the game. Aggie pitcher Lauren Ainsley finished the game with a career-high 10 strikeouts.
In her Roadrunner debut, Kelsie Monroe (So., Los Banos, Calif., Delta College) started both games and gave a commendable effort on the mound. She kept the Aggies in check and the 'Runners in the game through five innings. Freshman pitcher Amber Mills (Fresno, Calif., Clovis West HS) pitched one inning of relief and retired three straight batters while throwing two strikeouts.
Monroe also started in the circle against McNeese State, giving up three runs, only two of which were earned, on five hits with three strikeouts in five innings.
Against the Cowboys, the 'Runners used three straight hits to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third after King got a two-out infield single. Junior first baseman Amy Ricciardi (Chino Hills, Calif., Ayala HS) then belted a long single off the center field fence before designated player Jessica Castaneda (Bakersfield, Calif., Ridgeview HS) dropped in an RBI single into center field for her first hit as a 'Runner. After King scored to tie the game, Ricciardi then came around to score on a double steal to put CSUB up 2-1.
McNeese State tied the game in the top of the fourth before scoring two more runs in the sixth to secure the win.
CSUB will conclude the opening weekend of the 2013 season and the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament with a showdown against Long Beach State on Sunday at 2 p.m. The 49ers are 1-1 after topping Wright State 7-4 on Friday and then falling to Texas A&M 8-0 in five innings on Friday.