Texas A&M Softball is Oklahoma City bound for the Women’s College World Series. They will open play on Thursday morning vs. top ranked Florida.
The season continues for Aggie Softball after a big Super Regional win at Tennessee. The ladies in Maroon and White are clicking on all cylinders, ready to make a national title run. The road ahead isn’t easy, but this team doesn’t know the definition of the word quit.
However, before we get to Florida, let’s take a quick look back at the stars of Super Regional play. There were many strong contributors over the weekend, but these four stood out above the rest.
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Super Regional Superlatives
The first gold star of Super Regional Play goes to freshman pitcher Payton McBride. McBride entered a tie game in the top of the 6th of a win or go home match up for the Aggies. What did she do? Oh, just pitch 1.2 scoreless innings allowing the Aggies to punch in the winning run in the bottom of the inning and then secure an Aggie win.
The second gold star is a pretty obvious one, junior pitcher Trinity Harrington. After losing her father on May 18th, Harrington got the ball in the last two games of the Super Regional. With her back against the wall, she pitched a complete game on Sunday that sent the Aggies to the World Series.
On the offensive side, we give gold stars to Tori Vidales and Riley Sartain. Vidales produced the game winning RBI single on Saturday as well as an insurance homer on Sunday. Sartain’s three run jack put the Aggies up for good on Sunday and sent them to Oklahoma City.
Now, let’s take a look at the Aggies next opponent.
The Florida Gators
The Florida Gators are no pushover. They have a history of excellent softball teams and are the number 1 seed in this years tournament. It will surely take all hands on deck for this one.
First challenge? Sophomore pitcher Kelly Barnhill. She is absolutely lethal on the mound this year, with an NCAA leading 0.36 ERA for the season. She is no joke and neither is the rest of her pitching staff. The Gators have three pitchers within the top 10 of NCAA pitchers based on ERA. Senior Delanie Gourley checks in at No. 4 with a 0.67 ERA and junior Aleshia Ocasio checks in at No. 7 with a 1.13 ERA.
Texas A&M’s Trinity Harrington and Lexi Smith cracked the list of top NCAA pitchers, Harrington at No. 48 and Smith at No. 39. The Aggie pitching staff ranks fifth in the SEC with a 1.88 ERA across the board. Florida ranks first with a 0.69.
Despite the promise of strong pitching from the Gators, third baseman Riley Sartain believes the Aggie offense is clicking and ready to take on the challenge.
Florida finished the season 20-3 in conference play where the Aggies finished 16-7. Offensively, however, the teams are about the same. The team batting average for the Gators sits at .302 while the Aggies sit at .301 as a team. The ladies in maroon and white are swinging the bat well and will hope to continue that in OKC.
Overall, this looks like a pretty exciting match up for Aggie fans. Florida is strong competition, but it is definitely not an impossible hill to climb.
Schedule and How to Watch
The Aggies are at it bright and early on Thursday morning. First pitch will be at 11 .a.m on ESPN for the matchup with top ranked Florida. Depending on the outcome, the Aggies have two landing spots for their second game of the WCWS.
With a win over Florida, the Aggies advance to the second round and will play the winner of UCLA vs LSU on Friday June 2nd at 6 p.m. However, if the ladies drop game one to Florida, they will move to the single elimination losers bracket. If this happens, they will play the loser of UCLA vs LSU on Saturday June 3rd at 11 a.m. in a win or go home matchup.
Keep your eye on the girls in Maroon and White though, they have the talent to make a run for it all.
***STATS FROM SEC AND NCAA***