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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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Swinging into a new season

Photo by Robert O’Brien

Sophomore P/OF Grace Uribe (8) hits a ball at Davis Diamond on Saturday, May 7, 2022.

Texas A&M softball kicks off its 2022-23 season with an exhibition against McLennan on Friday, Sept. 30, at Davis Diamond. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.

The 2022 A&M team had an underwhelming season with a 31-28 overall record and a 6-18 record in the SEC. A number of changes were made to the softball program, chief among them was a new head coach.

New coach Trisha Ford replaces previous coach Jo Evans at the helm for A&M. Ford is coming off a successful six-year stint with Arizona State.

A&M also has 10 new players donning the maroon and white: five transfers and five freshmen recruits. 

The new freshmen are catcher Gracyn Coleman and shortstop Amari Harper from California, catcher Riley Valentine from Arizona and two Texas natives: first baseman Aiyana Coleman from College Station and outfielder Keely Williams from Cibolo.

As far as transfers, A&M adds both sophomore infielder Brianna Evans and senior catcher Julia Cottrill from Oklahoma State, graduate pitcher Madison Preston from Ford’s previous stop at Arizona State, sophomore pitcher Emily Leavitt from Minnesota and sophomore outfielder Allie Enright from Arizona.

Some holdovers from the previous regime include sophomore infielder Rylen Wiggins and junior pitcher/outfielder Grace Uribe. Wiggins slugged 12 home runs in her freshman season while Uribe struggled to the tune of a 5.45 ERA, but she did have an impressive 3.64 ERA in her freshman season. Uribe is an interesting bounce-back candidate for the maroon and white in 2023.

In terms of departing players, A&M’s most important losses include senior catcher Haley Lee and Makinzy Herzog. Lee departed for the back-to-back national champion Oklahoma Sooners while Herzog has yet to land with a new team.

The Aggies hope the sweeping changes made to their program will result in a successful season. However, as seems to be the case with every SEC sport, it will not be easy and the Aggies will need to be ready for a competitive conference slate. 

No matter what, A&M figures to be in a good position with Ford leading the program for 2023 and beyond.

Friday’s matchup is the first of two home exhibitions for A&M, the other being on Sunday, Oct. 2, against Houston at 2 p.m.

A&M’s first opponent, McLennan, is something of a powerhouse in the junior college softball scene, coming off a 59-8 record in 2021. Fifty-nine is a lot of victories. However, McLennan’s season ended in heartbreaking fashion with its loss in the NJCAA Softball Championship to Florida Southwestern State College. Whereas, Houston is in a similar situation as A&M coming off a mediocre 27-27-1 season. 

While the results of the exhibitions aren’t important long-term, they can serve as a great starting point for an A&M team looking to incorporate new players and coaches in a relatively risk-free environment.

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