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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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‘Lefty’ is here to dominate the SEC

A&M picks up 21st win in Game 1 against South Carolina with help from Emiley Kennedy
Photo by Jaime Rowe
Junior P Emiley Kennedy (11) pitches during Texas A&M’s game against UTSA on Feb. 25, 2024 at Davis Diamond. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)

Junior LHP Emiley Kennedy put on a show, throwing double-digit strikeout games in back-to-back weekends.

Coming off a dominant performance in the Judi Garman Classic on the road in California, Texas A&M softball traveled back home to Davis Diamond for the beginning of SEC play against South Carolina on Friday, March 8.

The Fightin’ Farmers improved to 21-2 on the season after their 3-0 win over the Gamecocks to start the series.

The Aggies started out shaky on defense in the first inning, as junior SS Koko Wooley dropped a line drive sent right to her by South Carolina’s redshirt senior LF Kianna Jones, allowing her to reach base.

Kennedy felt the Gamecocks’ pressure after she walked two batters following Jones to load the bases. The Maroon and White defense backed their pitcher with a double play after senior DP Zoe Laneaux hit a double to second and was thrown out on her way to first, effectively stranding all three on base.

The Gamecocks started out with stifling pitching by fifth-year RHP Alana Vawter, who struck out two Aggies back-to-back and then allowed senior 1B Trinity Cannon to fly out to left field.

South Carolina loaded the bases once more in the top of the second after Kennedy started the lineup by walking senior 3B Denver Bryant and junior SS Brooke Blankenship.

Freshman 2B Karley Shelton flew out to right field, then Kennedy got to business, striking out back-to-back Gamecocks before senior CF Riley Blampied’s fielder’s choice ended the inning.

“I thought [Kennedy] threw a tremendous game, [during] the first couple of innings she was trying to find her zone and figure out how to control her emotions,” coach Trisha Ford said. “[I am] super proud of her that she worked through that. She made big pitches when she needed to and that [is] what big-time pitchers do.”

Kennedy tallied 10 strikeouts through seven innings, only allowing five hits and no runs during her time in the circle.

Graduate CF Jazmine Hill put life back into Davis in the top of the fourth with a double shot down the left field line, which got a reaction from everyone in the stands. Cannon redeemed her earlier mishaps with a double to left field, with freshman Hailey Golden pinch running for her.

However, the Gamecocks held on, forcing Hill out at home after a fielder’s choice play and sophomore DP Keely Williams was walked.

Another double, this time to left-center field by junior LF Kramer Eschete, would lead to A&M taking the lead late in the fifth inning. Sophomore 3B Kennedy Powell grounded out to second but allowed Eschete to progress into scoring range at third.

Wooley pushed her home following a fielding error but was caught stealing by Gamecock senior C Jen Cummings.

The Aggie bats sealed the game in the bottom of the sixth after Hill’s second double of the game started a hitting streak with her teammates. After senior C Julia Cottrill was walked and then replaced by senior PR Sav Price, freshman INF Mya Perez grounded out, which allowed Hill to score the second run  for A&M.

Junior RF Allie Enright sent the newcomer Price home for the Aggies’ third run with a single to shortstop that was fumbled around by Blankenship for South Carolina’s second error of the night.

“Every win in this [conference] is hard,” Ford said. “You have to celebrate it, learn from it, then come back tomorrow refocused and get after it.”

Next, A&M will continue its first weekend of SEC play against South Carolina in Game 2 on Saturday, March 9, at 4 p.m.

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