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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Aggies sweep doubleheader on Day 2 of Texas A&M Invitational

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Photo by Cameron Johnson

Sophomore infielder Rylen Wiggens (2) and sophomore infielder Trinity Cannon (26) talking by the dugout in Davis Diamond on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022.

Day 2 of the Texas A&M Invitational on Friday, Feb. 10, was marked by a doubleheader against Northern Kentucky and a rematch with Tarleton, following a 12-2 win over the Texans on Thursday, Feb. 9, a fast-paced start on just the second day of the 2023 season.
Game 1 – Northern Kentucky
New head coach Trisha Ford made a successful debut on Day 1 of the tournament and the slate opener for Aggie softball.
The infield started with a quick three-up, three-down defense stand on two ground outs and a strikeout from senior pitcher Shaylee Ackerman. The Fightin’ Farmers played with visible energy and headed to the dugout with smiles as “Another One Bites the Dust” played over the speakers at Davis Diamond following Ackerman’s strikeout.
After back-to-back fielding errors from the Norse and a walk from junior third baseman Rylen Wiggins, leadoff batter sophomore shortstop Koko Wooley batted in one run with her sacrifice fly to center field in the bottom of the second.
The fans were on their feet in the top of the third when junior catcher Julia Cottrill picked off the runner on third, forcing the third out to maintain a tight 1-1 score. The Aggies’ bats were hot in the bottom of the third with a single from junior left fielder Bre Warren, followed by another single from senior right fielder Morgan Smith. Smith advanced to third base from another Norse fielding error that also drove in two base runners ahead of her. A single from sophomore center fielder Allie Enright drove Smith in from third base, and Enright scored herself by stealing home on a wild pass ball pitch. A&M was up 5-1 on Northern Kentucky.
Another error from behind the plate on a failed fake-out throw allowed pinch-runner senior Star Ferguson to steal home again in the bottom of the sixth.
Ackerman finished out in the circle after she pitched 4.1 innings; with her last strikeout of the game thrown in the top of the fifth. Sophomore pitcher Emily Kennedy relieved Ackerman, who came in the fifth inning of yesterday’s game to finish out against the Texans as well.
The Aggies maintained the five-run lead the rest of the game and finished out the top of the seventh inning with three-straight strikeouts from Kennedy. A&M came out on top against Northern Kentucky, 6-1.
Game 2 – Tarleton
In the second leg of the doubleheader, temperatures in the low-40’s didn’t faze the Aggies, especially not senior left-handed pitcher Madison Preston. The Arizona State transfer tossed five scoreless innings of one-hit ball with eight strikeouts, shutting down Tarleton State in a 10-0 run-ruled victory. The win kept the 3-0 maroon and white perfect at the Texas A&M Invitational.
Preston, pitching for her first time in a game since 2020, worked around five walks and four wild pitches to keep the Texans off the scoreboard, trusting a reliable defense that had its share of acrobatic plays, led by Wiggins and Warren.
“It’s really reassuring,” Preston said of having a strong defense behind her. “It allows me to be able to just tell myself ‘You can throw strikes, you don’t have to do too much, because you have a defense that is there and backs you up.’ So it definitely makes it easier.”
A&M showed plenty of power at the plate as well, with five players collecting two hits each. The Aggies tallied 12 total hits, which included six extra-base hits. The team took advantage of seven walks as well.
“[The cold] was there,” Ford said. “But you’re going to have to win in these types of elements. I told them ‘Do you want to be cold and lose, or do you want to be cold and win?’ … I thought they responded well to that.”
A&M wasted no time building up a lead, as Wooley led off the bottom of the first inning with a triple to the left-center gap. The La Porte native was hit by the throw as she slid into third, allowing her to sprint home and score. Cottrill and junior first baseman Trinity Cannon proceeded to knock back-to-back doubles, the latter of which brought home Cottrill. Two batters later, freshman catcher Gracyn Coleman hit a double of her own to score Cannon.
After a pitching change and two straight walks, freshman second baseman Amari Harper singled up the middle to bring home a pair of Aggies, giving them a 5-0 lead after the opening frame.
Preston found herself in a pickle in the top of the second after walking the first three batters, but calmly responded with a strikeout before getting some help from Warren in left field. The College Station native made a sensational diving grab, then quickly threw to second base to beat the runner for a double play.
Cannon bolstered A&M’s lead in the bottom of the inning with a solo shot over the wall in right-center field. After a 1-2-3 top of the third, the Aggies took a commanding 10-0 lead in the bottom of the frame. After Wiggins set the stage with a single and Wooley and Cannon drew walks, Coleman smacked a line drive to left field that banged off the bottom of the scoreboard, good for a grand slam.
“I honestly wasn’t even looking to see if it was going out, I just started running and I heard everybody cheering,” Coleman said. “I got to first base and Coach [Russ] Heff[ley] was like ‘It’s out!’ and I was like ‘Yes!’”
A&M held on for the remainder of the contest, as Preston gave up her first hit with one out in the fifth and final inning.
This win marked coach Ford’s 400th career win as a head coach in the collegiate level.
The Aggies will return to action on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. as they take on Michigan State at Davis Diamond. The Spartans are led by head coach Sharondra McDonald-Kelley, a four-time All-Big 12 honoree in Aggieland from 2004 to 2007, when she led A&M to the Women’s College World Series. McDonald-Kelley holds the program record for total stolen bases, with 153, and is second in the record books with 249 hits and 195 runs scored.

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