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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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Softball hits ground running in Cali series

Softball is back — even if it’s a few states away from College Station.
The No. 24 Texas A&M softball team will get its season underway this weekend at the SoCal Collegiate Classic in Los Angeles.
The Aggies will begin the classic with a doubleheader Friday against the Utah Utes and the No. 7 UCLA Bruins. On Saturday, the Aggies will face the Bruins again along with the San Diego State Aztecs, and will conclude the classic against Purdue.
The opener against the Utes will mean a little more for head coach Jo Evans. She not only was the former head coach at Utah before coming to Texas A&M, she will be coaching against her alma mater.
Evans said she looks forward to seeing her club get out on the field and compete against the best.
“I’m really anxious and excited to see how we handle the stress and pressure of a game,” Evans said. “I don’t remember a time when I went into a season with so many inexperienced players in terms of playing time at the college level. It’s going to be interesting to see how our kids respond.”
The Aggies enter the new season with plenty of fresh faces, as many of the top contributors last year graduated. Upperclassmen like catcher Nicole Morgan and outfielder Cassie Tysarczyk held huge leadership roles that now have to be picked up from players who lack in-game experience.
Senior Rachel Fox is one player Coach Jo Evans hopes will assume a leadership role.
“She’s a natural leader in terms of being a pitcher on the mound,” Evans said. “Anytime you’re a pitcher you have got to lead the team.”
A player to keep an eye on is junior outfielder Cali Lanphear, who began her college career with a bang as the first Aggie freshman to garner All-America honors. Last year, Lanphear struggled to get at-bats, let alone to be the big bat in the lineup to drive in runs. Now that Nicole Morgan has graduated, Evans feels Lanphear will be able to regain her freshman year form and produce in the hole that Morgan left behind.
“I’ve seen good improvement out of [Lanphear],” Evans said. “She’s someone we’re really going to need to lead us offensively, especially in the RBI categories and the power numbers.”
All of the main contributors from the pitching staff return this season. Fox and junior Katie Marks are projected to take the brunt of the load, along with rising sophomore Abby Donnell. Fox is excited to see her club playing this season.
“I expect us to compete,” Fox said. “I expect us to work hard, day in and day out. We’re a younger squad, but I don’t think that’s going to make too much of a difference. The freshmen have come in and put a lot of hard work in. I’m very pleased with them.”
Junior outfielder Alex Masek said the Aggies are ready to prove people wrong.
“People aren’t going to expect anything from us and we’re going to use that to our advantage,” Masek said. “We have a lot of fresh faces and fresh talent, but we’re determined and that’s a big deal.”

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