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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 prepares for packed opening weekend, No. 7 UCLA

Rachel+Fox+-+Softball+vs+Texas+State
Photo by Tim Lai
Rachel Fox – Softball vs Texas State

The Texas A&M softball team will begin their 2016 season at the Aggie Softball Complex with five games in a span of three days as a part of the Aggie Classic.
The tournament will feature No. 7 UCLA, Wichita State and Colorado State. Newly inducted hall-of-fame Texas A&M head coach Jo Evans said she was excited with watching her club compete on the diamond again.
“The first tournament everybody is hyped up and ready to go,” Evans said. “For me, I just want to gauge where our team is. You kind of don’t know as a coach where your team is because you’ve just been practicing against each other.”
The Aggies play in a loaded Southeastern Conference that includes reigning National Champion Florida. The SEC has five teams ranked in the top 10 and eight teams in the top 25 to start out the 2016 season.
The Aggies hope to improve on their eighth place finish in the SEC and their Regional Final loss to Oklahoma last year. To accomplish this goal, the Aggies will be looking to the senior class to assume leadership roles after losing four seniors last year, including pitcher Rachel Fox and outfielder Brittany Clopton.
Three seniors to watch out for are outfielder Cali Lanphear, infielder Breanna Dozier and pitcher Katie Marks.
In 2015, Lanphear posted a .297 batting average with nine home runs and 41 RBI while Dozier had a .529 slugging percentage to go along nine home runs of her own. Marks boasted a 14-3 record on the mound with a team-best 3.06 ERA. Lanphear spoke about her class’ ability.
“For our Senior class, this really gives us an opportunity to set the table and what the tone for this year needs to be,” Lanphear said.
The two games that could hold the most importance this weekend are with No. 7 UCLA. The Bruins advanced to the Women’s College World Series last year in Oklahoma City before losing a heartbreaker to Auburn in 10 innings. UCLA lost back-to-back Pac-12 Player of the Year Ally Carda, but still brings a high-powered offense into College Station.
Their offense includes senior Allexis Bennett who hit a .492 average last year which was good enough to earn fourth in the nation and junior Delaney Spaulding who hit at a .397 clip with 20 home runs and 72 RBI. In addition to Bennett and Spaulding, Dozier said that playing the Bruins will be a tight affair.
“Every time we play UCLA, it’s a close, seven-inning game,” senior Breanna Dozier said. “So we need to score every time we can and not stop scoring because it’s going to come down to the wire.”
First pitch is scheduled at 3 p.m. Friday at the Aggie Softball Complex with UCLA. A&M follows with a second match scheduled against Wichita State at 5:15 p.m.

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