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The Battalion

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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Aggies open NCAA Tournament with victory over Minnesota

Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Freshman IF Cayden Baker (22) throws a caught flyball back to the pitcher at Davis Diamond on Saturday, May 7, 2022.

After its selection to the Norman, Okla., regional for the NCAA Tournament, the Texas A&M softball team likely had its eyes set on the juggernaut of college softball, No. 1-ranked Oklahoma.
Before the Aggies could play spoiler against the Sooners, they had to take care of business against Minnesota, the regional’s No. 3 seed on May 20, 2022. Behind strong pitching and productive at-bats throughout the lineup, the maroon and white took down the Golden Gophers 5-1 at Marita Hynes Field.
“I’m really happy with a win to open up this tournament, but also with how our kids fought and competed,” A&M coach Jo Evans said. “I thought our pitchers were outstanding today. They attacked the strike zone, and they gave us a chance to get easy outs.”
In her team-leading 20th start of the season, freshman lefty Emiley Kennedy kept the Minnesota bats at bay, allowing just one unearned run across 4.2 innings with just two hits and two walks while striking out a pair. Senior Makinzy Herzog also appeared in the circle for 2.1 scoreless innings, allowing two hits with two strikeouts. The win drops the pitchers’ ERAs to 2.68 and 2.42, respectively.
“I’m really proud of Emiley [Kennedy] going out there and getting her start, and then Herzog dealing when she came in, and Kennedy coming back in at the end,” Evans said.
After the Golden Gophers broke the ice in the third inning with an unearned run, the Aggies responded in the bottom of the frame with a two-out rally. After a walk to senior catcher Haley Lee and a single by freshman left fielder Katie Dack, sophomore third baseman Trinity Cannon singled to left to plate the tying run.
In the fourth, back-to-back singles by freshman shortstop Koko Wooley and freshman center fielder Cayden Baker and an eight-pitch walk by sophomore second baseman Rylen Wiggins loaded the bases with two outs. Lee, fresh off an All-SEC First Team selection, smacked a single to score two runs for a 3-1 lead.
“Offensively, once we settled in after our first round of at-bats, I thought we did a really nice job with key hits in timely moments,” Evans said. “We did a really nice job to keep pressure on Minnesota.”
The Aggies added insurance in the sixth inning after sophomore Grace Uribe, now in left field, snuck a 2-1 offering over the left field wall for a two-run homer, her second longball of the year.
After Oklahoma’s no-hit, run-rule victory over Prairie View A&M later in the day, the Aggies will face the Sooners at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 21. A&M is no stranger to being the underdog this season, having taken down Florida and Arkansas, along with a series victory over then-No. 2 Alabama, its lone conference series win of the year.

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