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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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Photo by Lana Cheatham
Texas A&M starting pitcher/relief pitcher Emily Leavitt (25) pitching during Texas A&M’s game against Prairie View A&M on Tuesday, April 2, 2024, at Davis Diamond. (Lana Cheatham/The Battalion)

It’s hard to find a better way to rebound from a winless weekend than by run-ruling one’s opponent on the softball field. Throw a no-hitter into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a convincing bounce-back performance.

No. 14 Texas A&M softball cooked up a dominant response to being swept by LSU last week as it no-hit Prairie View A&M in a 10-0 five-inning victory at Davis Diamond on Tuesday, April 2. Junior P Emily Leavitt notched four perfect innings while the Aggies’ bats took advantage of nine hits and three Panther miscues to send the fans home early.

The Maroon and White doubled their offensive output from their three games in Baton Rouge, Louisiana over a weekend that saw them be outscored by a combined 16-5. A&M’s pitching staff allowed 18 hits over the weekend, with 14 of LSU’s runs coming in the fifth inning or beyond.

The key to avoiding a late inning letdown? Avoid playing them at all, as the Aggies sped through the game in an hour and 45 minutes thanks to a seven-run third inning.

“That definitely gave us some confidence going into this next series just because the last series really was a kick in the gut,” Leavitt said. “To bounce back like this definitely brings the vibes up.”

Leavitt kept the Panthers off the basepaths entirely while adding seven strikeouts through four frames. Graduate P Brooke Vestal cleaned up the fifth inning, with her walk of senior PH Karina Cisneros keeping A&M just short of the perfect game. She made up for it by striking out the side.

“I feel like around the third inning [the perfect game] would come to my mind and I’d be like, ‘nope, no, no, I’m not looking,’” Leavitt said. “I was really trying not to think about it because I had other things to focus on.”

A&M’s offense made sure she wouldn’t have to worry about run support as it scored early and often. Senior 1B Trinity Cannon’s RBI sacrifice fly put the Aggies on the board in the opening frame before freshman DP Mya Perez poked an RBI single in just her sixth start of the season.

The midweek matchup presented an opportunity for a number of reserves on the roster to earn playing time, whether it be through pinch hitting and running or as a defensive substitute. Sophomore C Gracyn Coleman made her third start behind the plate while senior PH Paige Lott made her sixth appearance.

“I thought Gracyn, honestly, did a really good job,” Ford said. “She received well behind there, was very quiet. I think Gracyn’s a really good receiver, she hasn’t gotten some innings in quite some time. [Senior] Julia [Cottrill] has been catching a lot of innings, so I thought it was a good balance to kind of get that going.”

Following junior LF Kramer Eschete’s RBI groundout in the second, A&M exploded in the third, kicked off by Perez’s two-run single.

“We needed her to come through in some situations and she did a great job,” Ford said.

A passed ball plated a run before senior 3B Rylen Wiggins added an RBI double and Eschete chipped an RBI single. Junior SS Koko Wooley saved the game’s most exciting play for last, as she tripled to right-center to score Eschete. When the Prairie View third baseman couldn’t handle the throw in, Wooley took advantage as she darted home and narrowly avoided the catcher’s glove.

“Koko’s amazing, I can watch that kid all day long,” Ford said. “When that ball got past the outfielder, I was like, ‘she’s on three.’ Then the ball moved, and it feels like it gets away by a foot and a half and she’s scoring.”

A&M returns to Davis Diamond on Friday, April 5 versus Kentucky at 6 p.m. The Wildcats sit at the bottom of the SEC standings with a 23-12 record and a 2-7 mark in conference play, but took the series against No. 13 Alabama last weekend.

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