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The Battalion

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A&M softball finishes out TaxAct Clearwater Invitational

Freshman+P%2F1B+Emiley+Kennedy+%2811%29+pitches+during+the+top+of+the+third+inning+in+Davis+Diamond+on+Wednesday%2C+April+27%2C+2022.
Photo by Robert O’Brien

Freshman P/1B Emiley Kennedy (11) pitches during the top of the third inning in Davis Diamond on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

Texas A&M softball started early on Saturday, Feb 18, with a double header against the University of South Florida and the University of Nebraska to continue the final two games of the TaxAct Clearwater Invitational at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater, Fla.
The Aggies beat the Bulls 5-1, with a great showing from senior left-handed pitcher Madison Preston, who allowed only one run to complement her six strikeouts in the game.
A&M got off to a slow start in the first inning, as Preston walked three Bulls on her first trip to the mound. The game would go scoreless until the bottom of the second, when a two-run home run by junior third baseman Rylen Wiggins put the Aggies on top. Then, to end the frame, junior first baseman Trinity Cannon hit a sacrifice fly to right field to let sophomore shortstop Koko Wooley score, ending the inning with the maroon and white leading 3-0.
In the bottom of the third, freshman second baseman Amari Harper hit a single up the middle for an RBI to let freshman right fielder Riley Valentine score, as the Aggies led 4-0.
In the fourth inning, A&M was forced to play defense with the bases loaded, as South Florida senior left fielder Bailee Leistl raced home on a wild pitch to put the Bulls on the scoreboard, making the score 4-1 with the Aggies on top.
The next score came in the sixth inning from junior designated hitter Juila Cottrill. After drawing a walk, Cottrill reached second base and later scored on wild pitches by junior pitcher Lexie Kopko. The game finished with a 5-1 A&M victory.
The Aggies’ next matchup was against Nebraska at 1 p.m.
The maroon and white started the matchup with sophomore right-handed pitcher Emily Leavitt. In the top of first, Cannon hit a single to right field for an RBI, driving in Wooley from third. Valentine later reached first base on an error by the junior third baseman Sydney Gray, which allowed Cottrill to score.
The Aggies led 2-0 going into the bottom of the frame until Nebraska junior shortstop Billie Andrews hit a solo home run off Leavitt. The Cornhuskers then followed the homer with two more runs, as junior right fielder Caitlynn Neal hit an RBI double to drive in sophomore catcher Ava Bredwell. Junior infielder Brooke Andrews drove in Neal right after, to make the score 3-2 Nebraska at the end of the first.
The next score came in the fourth inning, when freshman left fielder Keely Williams hit a triple to center field to drive Valentine home, tying the game at 3.
The Huskers didn’t take long to respond though, as Billie Andrews hit her second solo shot to give Nebraska a 4-3 lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
“We gave them runs and then we also ran into some runs on the base path and so you know we just have to execute when we need to execute and those little things are the things that always come back and nip you in the bud,” coach Trisha Ford said. “Especially on game five of a weekend, right? You’re tired, you’re trying to finish, so those things will come to nip you.”
The Aggies finished with a 3-2 record in the Invitational and will travel to Cathedral City, Calif., from Feb. 23-25, to face off against BYU in the first matchup of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at 7:30 p.m., before taking on Cal State Northridge at 10 p.m.

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