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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

Brazos County officials are distributing free backpacks, school supplies and gift cards for K-12 students on July 12 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Bryan High Silver Campus Cafeteria.
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Graduate G Tyrece Radford (23) drives to the basket during Texas A&Ms game against Nebraska in the first round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee, on Friday, March 22, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Chancellor John Sharp during a Board of Regents meeting discussing the appointmet of interim dean Mark Welsh and discussion of a McElroy settlement on Sunday, July 30, 2023 in the Memorial Student Center.
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A&M comes from behind, walks off Texas State in Regional opener

Photo by Photo by A Nguyen

Sophomore INF Koko Wooley (3) looks back at her teammate after stealing home base during Texas A&M’s game against Mizzou at Davis Diamond on Sunday, April 30, 2023.

Entering the bottom of the seventh inning of its NCAA Regional matchup versus Texas State, the No. 2 seed Texas A&M softball team may have been getting flashbacks to its previous game, a 1-0 loss to South Carolina in the SEC Tournament on May 10.
Taking on the Gamecocks in Fayetteville, Arkansas, both teams went through seven scoreless frames before South Carolina pushed the go-ahead run across on just its third hit of the contest. The Aggies couldn’t respond, being held to just two hits in the game, and were eliminated from the conference tournament.
On Friday, May 19, at McCombs Field in Austin, the Aggies had managed just five hits while being held scoreless as they went down to their final three outs, trailing the Bobcats 1-0. Texas State hadn’t any more luck, but took advantage of a fielding error by senior RHP Shaylee Ackerman in the sixth that put the go-ahead run on base and later scored on freshman C Megan Kelnar’s sacrifice fly.
“A really good pitcher has the ability to have a short-term memory and I think she did a really good job of resetting,” coach Trisha Ford said. “I thought Shaylee did a heck of a job of just kind of resetting, refocus and living in the moment. You can’t control a lot of things, but what you can control is your mindset and your approach to the next pitch.”
The bottom of the seventh got off to a promising start with a single by freshman DP Aiyana Coleman that chased senior RHP Tori McCann from the game as Texas State coach Ricci Woodard brought junior RHP and starter Jessica Mullins back into the circle. However, a fielder’s choice and flyout left sophomore CF Allie Enright on first with sophomore SS Koko Wooley serving as the maroon and white’s final hope.
“I just said ‘We’ve prepped for this, this is it,’” Ford said. “I talked to them at practice this week, you’ve got to fill your head with good stuff.”
The La Porte native rose to the occasion with a single to center field as Enright ignored the “stop” sign from third base coach Jeff Harger and raced towards third. While it looked like Enright was behind the throw from junior CF Piper Randolph, it soared awry and into the A&M dugout, allowing Enright to trot home, tying the game at 1.
“You don’t want to know what I was thinking,” Ford said. “Luck went our way, it’s a game of momentum. I would have probably been in another place if she would have gotten hosed, but it went our way, and so you’ve got to build on that. You have games where there’s lots of ups and downs, and we caught a break and we took advantage of it, and it worked in our favor.”
Wooley then advanced to third on a wild pitch before freshman 2B Amari Harper walked to put Aggies on the corners with two outs, but a flyout ended the threat.
Nonetheless, the Aggies carried the momentum into extra innings, as sophomore LHP Emiley Kennedy notched a 1-2-3 eighth inning with some help from the left side of the infield. Junior 3B Rylen Wiggins deflected a line drive off her glove before Wooley caught it on the fly to end the frame.
After several players left the dugout to lead the A&M fans in yells, a popout and strikeout gave the Bobcats hope of a quick inning. Wiggins had other plans, hitting a flyball off the left field wall next to the foul pole to slide into third with a triple and bring the crowd to its feet.
With Coleman up to bat, junior C Julia Cottrill took the freshman aside and offered her a few words of encouragement. One pitch later, Coleman connected on the biggest hit of her young college career, belting a base hit off the right field wall to plate Wiggins and secure a 2-1 A&M win.
“She just told me not to make things bigger than what they were and just to relax and just breathe,” Coleman said.
Coleman, a College Station native, entered the matchup batting .304 over 18 starts this season.
“I’m happy for AC because of the work that she’s put in,” Ford said. “Those are two big at-bats as a freshman in this type of environment that she’s gonna be able to put in her toolbox and grab later on in her career.”
The seventh and eighth inning were the best A&M’s offense had looked since the opening frame in which Wooley led off with a walk and Harper followed with a single to left. After a popout, both runners advanced on a wild pitch, but Wooley got too ambitious as she was thrown out at home by senior 3B Sara Vanderford. A walk and hit batter loaded the bases, but Mullins got out of the jam with a popout from Wiggins.
The victory was made possible with strong rebound performances from Ackerman and Kennedy, the latter of which gave up the winning run to the Gamecocks, while Ackerman tossed four scoreless frames in the outing with South Carolina.
“I didn’t really think about the last game, this game was totally new coming in — different stage, different atmosphere everywhere,” Ackerman said. “I just had to get in my groove, at first I was a little shaky, but being able to settle in and take it pitch by pitch rather than trying to be too perfect was what helped me out tonight.”
The win keeps the Aggies out of a hole in which they would have to win four straight games to advance to the Super Regionals and keep their season alive. The team now prepares to face Texas at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, at McCombs Field after the Longhorns run-ruled the Seton Hall Pirates 8-0 earlier in the day.
“We’re a young team, but a good team, and a good team finds a way to win, and that’s what we did tonight,” Ford said. “[Coach Mike White’s] teams always compete, but I’m always going to bet on us, so we’re going to go out there and compete too and get after it.”

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