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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Texas A&M softball endures delay but falls at the hands of No. 3 Tennessee

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Freshman C Riley Valentine (27) catches the softball at Davis Diamond on Wednesday, March. 1, 2023

On Friday, March 31, the Titan of SEC softball, the No. 3 Tennessee Volunteers, came into Davis Diamond to face off against the No. 21 Texas A&M Aggies. The Volunteers came into the game with just two losses on the year, and only one in SEC play. The game was a battle, going into the 10th inning. It was a beautiful spring day at the start of the game, but by the end of the matchup it was a dark and stormy night in College Station.
Sophomore RHP Emily Leavitt started the game for the Aggies, tasked with keeping the powerful Lady Volunteer lineup under control. Despite hitting the first batter, her inning finished almost perfectly, striking out the next three batters on 13 pitches.
Tennessee started graduate RHP Ashley Rogers who has been the Vols’ ace throughout the season. She is a perfect 10-0 on the year, with a jaw-dropping 0.74 ERA. She made quick work of the Aggies, striking out two in a three-up three-down inning in the bottom of the first.
Leavitt continued to do work against the bottom half of the Lady Volunteer lineup, striking out another two batters in the top of the second. This brought her total to five on the day.
The bottom of the second provided a scare for the Volunteers. Two walks to start the inning seemed like a sure scoring opportunity for the Aggies. However, a strikeout and then a fielder’s choice, aided by a controversial foul-ball call, gifted two outs to the Vols. Despite the bases getting loaded via another walk, the inning ended when Rogers got her fourth strike out of the game.
The top of the third inning started with a bang, as junior 3B Rylen Wiggins made a diving catch along the third-baseline to get the first out. This was followed by a fielder’s choice, another play in which Wiggins made an impressive effort in the field. Leavitt then finished the inning with her sixth strike out of the day.
The bottom of the third inning was quickly finished. The Aggies had two batters fly out along with Rogers getting another strike out on the day. The fourth inning was more of the same. The result was an impressive feat in which both teams were heading into the fifth inning without a hit.
The first hit of the game came from the Tennessee eight hole, junior LF Rylie West. It was after this that senior RHP Shaylee Ackerman came into the game for Leavitt, who finished the day with seven strikeouts and just one hit allowed. Ackerman was able to get the final out of the inning, stranding the Lady Vol baserunner.
The Vols got runners in scoring position thanks to a couple of walks in the top of the sixth. No runs came to fruition however, as Wiggins once again showed her fielding prowess. The Aggies did the same in their portion of the inning, loading the bases without a single hit. However, no runs were able to be scored.
The Lady Vols went 1, 2, 3 in the top of the seventh. Putting it in the hands of the Aggies’ offense to potentially end the game. Despite getting a baserunner on second, Rogers continued to dazzle from inside the circle. She finished the inning by getting her 11th strikeout.
The eighth inning saw a hit from senior CF Kiki Milloy for the Vols. However, neither the Vols nor the Aggies were able to put anything on the scoreboard. Both pitchers continued to dominate, making it seem as though the first team to score a run would win the game.
In the top of the tenth, the Volunteers were finally able to get points on the board. Sophomore Katie Taylor doubled and Milloy singled and reached second on the throw. A costly error for the Aggies allowed both Volunteers in scoring position to make it home, making the score 2-0.
The Aggies managed to get their first hit of the game in the bottom of the 10th inning, thanks to sophomore CF Allie Enright. This was immediately followed by a lightning delay.
After an hour and 20 minute delay, the game was finally resumed. Enright was moved to third thanks to two sacrifice flies, then an errant pitch brought her in to score. This finally got the Aggies on the board, down 2-1.
Rogers exited the game at this point, having pitched an insane 183 pitches. Freshman RHP Karlyn Pickens entered the game as her replacement. Only needing one out, she forced a fly out to end the game, just four and a half hours after the game started.
“I think it’s the fact that we put up a really good fight,” Leavitt said. “I don’t think anyone should go away with their heads down. That was a really good game against a really good team. We know that as a team we can beat them easily.”
“Lots of things to be in a good space with,” coach Trisha Ford said. “That was a heck of a battle.”
The Aggies will play Game 2 of this series against the Vols on Saturday, April 1, at 1 p.m.

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