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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 to kick off season with six-game Texas A&M Invitational

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Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Sophomore P/OF Grace Uribe (8) hits a ball during the bottom of the second inning in Davis Diamond on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

After nine months away, the seats at Davis Diamond will once again be filled as the Texas A&M women’s softball team returns to the field on Thursday, Feb. 9 for a jam-packed, six-game series to kick off its season. However, some things may be unfamiliar to patrons returning to catch a glimpse of the girls of Davis. 

The major difference is the woman leading the charge in the bullpen. After former head coach Jo Evans’ contract was not renewed following the conclusion of the 2022 season and her 26th season in College Station, the Aggies were off to find a new captain for the ship. They landed on Arizona State head coach Trisha Ford and her 212-89 career record. 

The 2022 Pac-12 Coach of the Year has backup with standout returners like senior Star Ferguson in the outfield, juniors Rylen Wiggins and Trinity Cannon, as well as sophomore Koko Wooley in the infield. The circle will also remain fortified with three pitchers returning this season: sophomore Emiley Kennedy, junior Grace Uribe and senior Shaylee Ackerman. 

“We’re just getting excited to get going on our season,” Ford said. “We’ve had a lot of preparation. This team has been very excited to get coached hard. Excited to get pressed and be uncomfortable. I really commend that ability to take us in. So I think we’re going to surprise some people.”

Following a short run in its postseason in 2022 with a 1-4 loss against then-No. 12 Florida in the second round of the SEC Tournament and a 20-0 loss in the NCAA Norman Regional against then-No. 1 Oklahoma to finish the season, A&M returns to play with its first match against Tarleton State on Feb. 9 at 4 p.m.

The Texans have high hopes for their season after their 2022 season where they became the first Tarleton Athletics program to put a mark in the win column during the postseason. This season, the program boasts a sixth-place projected finish by the WAC Preseason Coach’s Poll. The Aggies will play the Texans twice in the weekend-long series with the second matchup scheduled for Friday, Feb. 10, at 7:30 p.m. The game will serve as a potential revenge match or double-down for A&M depending on the results of Game 1.

In between the double-header with Tarleton, the Aggies will face Northern Kentucky on Feb. 10, at 5 p.m. The Norse will have a new assistant coach in Ashley Obrest, a former assistant coach at Boston University. The two teams have no history of playing against one another, so both will be looking to use the contest to make a statement of skill. 

After the three matches to start the weekend, A&M picks up the bat again on Saturday, Feb. 11, against Michigan State. Like the Aggies, the Spartans have also spent the offseason preparing a coaching staff. Michigan State’s head coach Sharonda McDonald-Kelley completed her program with assistant coach Nadia Taylor, who is fresh off nine years in National Pro Fastpitch. The Spartans made it to the Big Ten Softball Tournament but were eliminated after the first round, so the green and white will begin their season looking for a different ending.

The Aggies will conclude the weekend with a double-header against their sister school, Texas A&M-Commerce, with the first game on Feb. 11, at 6 p.m., and the second and final game of the series on Sunday, Feb. 12, at 2 p.m., leaving enough time for Super Bowl Sunday plans. The Lions are another squad with no prior history against the maroon and white, leaving a blank slate for both teams to leave their marks. 

“We’re gonna play hard, we’re gonna play gritty, we’re gonna punch some people in the mouth,” Ford said of her expectations for the season.

All six games are to take place at Davis Diamond in College Station and can be watched on SEC Network+ on ESPN. Students can still get in using their sports pass, and tickets are on sale for $4-$10 on 12thMan.com.

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