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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 to host Volunteers in top-25 showdown

The No. 21 Texas A&M softball team will welcome the No. 4 Tennessee Volunteers to the Aggie Softball Complex starting Friday for a three-game weekend series.
This will be the first visit to College Station for the Volunteers (33-5, 9-3 SEC), as the other five games played between the two teams were all held in Knoxville. The Vols are coming off a Wednesday win against Tennessee Tech, while the Aggies (27-12, 8-7 SEC) are heading home after a 5-3 loss against Kentucky. Head coach Jo Evans said her team understands what a tough conference schedule they have.
“There’s no breaks [in the SEC],” Evans said. “If you look at our RPI, we’re in a good place. Going into these last four weeks, we’re facing teams that are all high in RPI. That serves us well. The teams that we’re facing now prepare us for championship play and postseason play. We’re not going to see teams tougher than this heading into the postseason.”
The Aggies have been led by senior center fielder Emily Albus, who is first among league hitters with 63 hits, third with a .450 batting average and tied for fifth with 15 stolen bases. Freshman pitcher Abby Donnell has finished more games (19) than any player in the SEC and is tied for first among all conference pitchers with five saves on the season.
The Vols are led offensively by senior infielder Madison Shipman, who leads the team with 11 home runs and a .422 batting average. The pitching staff is led by senior Ellen Renfroe, who sports a 22-2 record and a 1.54 ERA.
“We need to be aggressive at the plate against Renfroe,” Evans said. “She’s tricky when she gets two strikes on you. She can move the ball and has a lot of weapons.”
The Aggies will counter the Vols with junior pitcher Rachel Fox and sophomore pitcher Katie Marks. Fox said Tennessee’s balanced lineup will be a challenge.
“No doubt about it, Tennessee’s a great team,” Fox said. “But they are coming into our house and our goal is to protect our house and do everything possible to do that.”
Senior shortstop Taran Tyler said playing at home always provides the team with a sense of comfort.
“It’s nice to be home,” Tyler said. “When we land, it’s the greatest feeling because College Station is home. Being home and playing one of the best teams in the nation should be fun.”
The Aggies will begin the series at 7 p.m. Friday and conclude at noon Sunday. Friday and Sunday’s games will be televised on ESPNU.

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