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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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Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

No. 6 Texas A&M defeats Houston and Boston College on Opening Day

Photo by Photo by C. Morgan Engel

Junior left fielder Keeli Milligan celebrates the walk-off win over the Houston Cougars as she runs across home plate.

For the last time in its 24-year career, the Aggie Softball Complex kicked off a new softball season for the Aggie Classic as No. 6 Texas A&M hosts Texas Tech, Houston and Boston College.
Senior Tori Vidales said welcoming in a new season for the last time at the Aggie Softball Complex was bittersweet considering this was the last opening day of her collegiate career.
“It’s crazy to think that I’ve already been here for four years, but my body definitely feels it sometimes,” Vidales said. “I was actually out there in the middle of the game, trying to soak in how everything feels, how the dirt feels under your feet, how the grass smells and how your teammates are encouraging if you do good or bad. For me it was just kind of realizing that energy that the game brings to you, can’t really replicate that anywhere else.”
In the opening game of the season for A&M, it found itself trailing by four runs in the bottom of fifth inning in the first game of the season against Houston.
With sophomore outfielder Sarah Hudek in scoring position, junior Keeli Milligan tripled to left field, allowing Hudek to score and cutting into UH’s lead, 3-1. Milligan said despite the crucial RBI triple that gave the dormant Aggie offense life for the reminder of the game, there was a lot of things she needed to work on personally to improve.
“I had a couple of good moments,” Milligan said. “But I’m the type of person who is always going to wonder what I could do better. So, it’s hard for me to look at what I did well knowing that I left something on the table. It’s a little tougher this year for me because I know how hard I worked [during the offseason].”
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Vidales reached base on an error committed by Houston shortstop Mariah Garcia to give the Aggies their first base runner of the inning. Senior catcher Ashley Walters kept the rally going with a single to first allowing Vidales to reach third.
Keeping the momentum in the favor of the Aggies was junior third baseman Riley Sartain who hit an RBI double to left field allowing Vidales to score easily cutting the Cougars lead to half.
With runners in scoring position, sophomore Sarah Hudek doubled to the center field wall, allowing for Walters and Kylie George-who was pinch running for Walters-to score, tying the game at four apiece.
“Just going up there and squaring up the ball,” Hudek said. “The more you square up the ball the more chances you’re going to be successful. So, I just tried to take it one pitch at a time and it paid off.”
After junior pitcher Samantha Show held the Cougar offense to one hit and Walters caught Maya Walters attempting to steal second in the top half of the inning A&M entered the seventh inning with a chance to successfully come back to win the opening game of the season.
Milligan, who is one of the fastest players on the A&M roster, led the inning off with a walk after UH starting pitcher Trystan Melancon threw four consecutive balls and put the winning runner on base. With a 1-1 count, Alderink hit a ball in the gap between left field and center, Milligan safely made it to third with no one out and Vidales-who had a team leading .406 batting average last season-due up at the plate.
On the first pitch of the at-bat, Vidales singled to centerfield, allowing for Milligan to score, handing A&M its first victory of the season.
Show earned the complete game win for Texas A&M, giving up 2 earned runs on six hits with four strike outs.
The second game of the day featured another slow start offensively for the Aggies as they hosted Boston College for the nightcap of day one of the Aggie Classic.
A&M drew blood first in the bottom of the first inning after Milligan scored off a fielding error. Boston College would quickly respond in the top half of the second inning tying the game up at one run apiece.
Both teams remained in a 1-1 tie for the majority of the game, up until the fifth inning when Alderink and Vidales both had back to back hits with two outs to give the Aggies the 3-1 advantage over Boston College.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Eagles threatened to cut into the Aggies lead when Hudek and Walters combined for a lead saving play at the plate. Hudek, who was standing in right, fielded a hit ground ball and came up throwing it to Walters who was standing in front of home plate waiting to tag BC’s Chloe Sharabba.
In the very next play, Hudek would once again receive the ball and throw out a runner only this time she would catch Jordan Chimento at first base. A&M head coach Jo Evans said Hudek was an integral part of why the Aggies were 2-0 at the end of the day.
“After that first game I let our kids know Hudek was huge for us,” Evans said. “She stepped up big offensively. You just look her out there, she wants to be the one in that situation and be clutch. And then defensively the kid’s got a cannon. It was really nice to see her get rid of the ball at times.”
Evans said the Aggies started off slow in the first two games of the season partially due to the excitement of a new season and trying to shake off the rust accumulated throughout the offseason.
“I don’t care if it’s the first game or the last, I don’t care if it’s practice, we need to get ourselves together. I talked to our team about just doing a better job of keeping our composure,” Evans said. There were some things I didn’t like about tonight that we will have to get better.”
The Aggies will be back in action Saturday for day two of the Aggie Classic where they will face off against Boston College for the second time. First pitch is set for 12:15 p.m. with another game following at 3 p.m. against Texas Tech.

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