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

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Ignoring the pressure

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It had been nine years since the Texas A&M softball team reached the Women’s College World Series before last year’s run to Oklahoma City. The 2017 Aggies went 42-10 overall and 16-7 in SEC play to make the NCAA Tournament as the ninth overall seed. They went on to knock off Tennessee in the Super Regionals, clinching a spot in the WCWS before losing both games in OKC. 
Head coach Jo Evans and this year’s team are primed to exceed the high level of success they achieved in 2017.
“It’s an exciting time for us,” Evans said. “We’re ready to get going, I’m sure we’ll be a little rusty in the beginning, but really excited about our talent level, our personnel and our experience level. It’s a really fun team to coach and I look forward to big things from us this season.”
A&M loses just two seniors from the 2017 team and returns the entire pitching staff and all of its starting lineup. The major contributors returning include three players who earned All-SEC honors a year ago and experienced, talented pitchers. 
Junior third baseman Riley Sartain was given All-SEC Second Team after hitting .350 with 13 home runs and 49 RBIs, while senior shortstop Kristen Cuyos was also given All-SEC Second Team honors after hitting .277 with 11 home runs and 47 RBIs. Sophomore right fielder Sarah Hudek was given All-SEC Freshman Team honors after hitting .291 with four home runs and 34 RBIs. 
“There’s always going to be pressure every year [to return to   the WCWS],” Sartain said. “I think at the beginning of the fall, we kind of felt that a little bit and we’ve done our very best to try and minimize those thoughts and that pressure and really just do our best every pitch and every play.”
​The returning pitching staff includes junior Samantha Show, senior Trinity Harrington and senior Lexi Smith.

Show tossed 137 innings, going 19-7 with a 2.20 ERA, while Harrington threw 115 innings, going 14-4 with a 2.13 ERA and Smith led the team with a 1.63 ERA while going 12-1 on the year.

“I think we’re going to be even stronger than last year,” Show said concerning the pitching staff. “We’ve added four new freshmen pitchers so we have more depth. We are a really big pitching staff this year and we’re all different so I think that’s going to allow us to take some pressure off of Trinity [Harrington] and [me].”

The Aggies also welcome seven freshmen to an already loaded roster — adding depth in nearly all areas. The additions include pitchers Kayla Poynter from Loganville, Georgia, pitcher Hannah Mayo from Corpus Christi, Texas and pitcher Maddie MacGrandle from Frisco, Texas.

New behind the plate will be catchers Dani Elder from League City, Texas and catcher Abby Smith from Prosper, Texas. The remaining newcomers are outfielder Kylie George from Crosby, Texas and utility player Gabby Moreno from Montgomery, Texas.

A&M’s schedule includes four tournaments to be hosted in College Station at the Aggie Softball Complex, featuring teams like Texas Tech, Houston, Boston College, Iowa, Utah, Michigan State, UConn and others. The Aggies will participate again in the Mary Nutter Classic in California, which features elite softball programs from around the country. Conference play starts on March 9 as A&M welcomes Ole Miss to College Station.

The Maroon&White begin their  season with the annual Aggie Classic on Feb. 9. Featuring Houston, Texas Tech and Boston College at the Aggie Softball Complex.

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