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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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12-seed A&M softball grabs historic win against 13-seed South Carolina

Photo by Robert O’Brien

Sophomore P/OF Grace Uribe (8) hits a ball at Davis Diamond on Saturday, May 7, 2022.

Following a long season of monumental wins and tough defeats, Texas A&M softball fought for a seat in the SEC Tournament. In the only game of the first round of the tournament on Tuesday, May 10, the Aggies proved they belong among the rest in Gainesville, Fla.
The game began in a stalemate between the two teams, with no one scoring until the third inning when A&M took advantage of the Gamecocks’ mistakes. In the third inning, South Carolina issued three walks, including an intentional walk to freshman left fielder and deputy player Katie Dack. With bases loaded, sophomore third baseman Trinity Cannon shot a double to left field to clear the bases and put the Aggies up 3-0.
Coach Jo Evans said the team’s series against No. 4 Arkansas gave them the confidence to compete.
“For us to be able to take that confidence and come into today was really important,” Evans said. “Of course, Trin [Trinity Cannon] stepping up in a big moment there. We did a great job taking advantage of the walks we got, the free passes and getting some timely hitting from that. We’re really proud of our kids. Really proud of Shaylee Ackerman coming in there and closing. Just a good team win for us.”
The walks continued with freshman shortstop Koko Wooley leading off the fourth inning. Wooley made her way around the bases with a stolen base and an error. Freshman center and left fielder Cayden Baker sent a ground out to third that allowed Wooley to charge home and raise the Aggies’ lead to 4-0. The Gamecocks’ comeback came in the fifth inning when they managed to scratch three runs and cut into A&M’s lead. However, the maroon and white broke away again that same inning when a double from Wooley added a run to their score, 5-3.
In the final inning, junior pitcher Shaylee Ackerman came into the circle to relieve and held South Carolina hitless to close the game, marking her first career save. The pitching line for the Aggies included freshman starting pitcher Emiley Kennedy and sophomore pitcher Grace Uribe along with Ackerman. Together, the line got seven strikeouts against the Gamecocks. Kennedy had nine hits to her name, showing the strength of the maroon and white’s defense.
Cannon said the team works because the players have confidence in one another.
“I know it gets really hard when somebody makes an error and kind of breaks momentum, but our pitchers have a lot of trust in our defense and we have a lot of trust in them,” Cannon said. “For them to throw their strikes and for us to back them up. Our pitching staff as a whole tonight was really poised. What Shaylee [Ackerman] came in and did tonight was absolutely amazing.”
Cannon and Wooley led the offense with a 2-for-3 and 1-for-2 record, respectively. A&M proved through the match that home runs are not a necessity — consistent hitting efforts and impenetrable defense can win a game.
The 5-3 victory marked A&M’s first-ever SEC Tournament win in program history. Since the school joined the SEC in 2012, the softball program has gone to multiple NCAA regional finals, but had yet to work its way through an SEC Tournament.
Evans said that the historic win was both an excitement and a relief.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Evans said. “You look at our seven previous games, we lost five games by one run. Sort of indicative of our season a bit. For our team to fight and scratch and claw to get a win, it means a lot to me, our program. This is a good ball club right here, and I’ve been really proud of them and how resilient they’ve been.”
The Aggies continue their tournament run in Gainesville against the 5-seed Florida Gators, the tournament hosts, on Wednesday, May 11 at 4 p.m. The match will air nationally on the SEC Network.

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