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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Jessica Mullins’ record-breaking season results in her first Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year

Texas+State+junior+pitcher+Jessica+Mullins+%284%29+winds+up+to+pitch+the+ball+during+the+home+opener+against+the+University+of+Oregon%2C+Thursday%2C+Feb.+17%2C+2022%2C+at+Bobcat+Softball+Stadium.%26%23160%3B

Texas State junior pitcher Jessica Mullins (4) winds up to pitch the ball during the home opener against the University of Oregon, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, at Bobcat Softball Stadium. 

After an accolade-filled sophomore season, it’s time to add Jessica Mullins to the list of all-time great Texas State softball pitchers after she brought home her first Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year award in 2022. 
After leading the conference in strikeouts, ERA, innings pitched and wins, it comes as no surprise that sophomore pitcher Jessica Mullins was named the Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year. Mullins led the Bobcat softball team to a 27-12 record while on the mound and to the Sun Belt Conference championship game, where they fell short to the University of Louisiana Ragin Cajuns.
Coming off of a strong freshman season where she earned the National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s All Second Team honors and All-Sun Belt First Team, Mullins and fourth-year pitching coach Paige McDuffee used the last offseason to improve her mindset and approach to the game.
“Individually, I focused more on my mentality,” Mullins said. “Coach McDuffee and I worked on how I should obtain a pitch-by-pitch mentality. Once I learned how to do that successfully, I ran with it and never stopped working.”
Mullins’ talent as a pitcher needed fine-tuning this past offseason, with a heavier emphasis on that pitch-by-pitch mentality and approach. Coming into her sophomore season, McDuffee said her goal for Mullins was Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year, and the changes Mullins made in her approach going into her sophomore season helped her achieve that goal. 
“She had a lot of raw talent that needed a little bit of fine-tuning,” McDuffee said. “Her mental approach and her intent with every single thing she throws in practice and understanding the importance of every pitch has developed tremendously since she’s been in college from her first year to her second year.”
With those improvements came improved expectations, including the goal of Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year. McDuffee and Mullins shared the same goal for the sophomore pitcher, and seeing it come to fruition was exciting for both of them.
“She shared with me that was her goal as well, so it’s exciting to see that she accomplished it,” McDuffee said. “She really approaches everything with a purpose behind it and takes care of the little details, and I think that is one of the keys to her success.”
On the way to becoming Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year, Mullins was named to the preseason All-Sun Belt team and the Sun Belt All-Tournament Team, won Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week three times, threw six shutouts and pitched 22 complete games.
Mullins’ individual season was one for the record books, but she credits her teammates for the role they played in her and the team’s success.
“It was a huge honor to receive those accolades, but I wouldn’t have received them without my teammates,” Mullins said. “My success is determined by their success, so without them, I wouldn’t have performed as well as I did this year. I feed off of their successes just as much as I believe they feed off of mine.”
The love Mullins has for her teammates is stronger than the individual accomplishments she experiences. The battery of Mullins and her teammate senior catcher Caitlyn Rogers took home NFCA All-Region honors, and softball head coach Ricci Woodard said that the two came in big situations. 
“Mullins and Rogers only got stronger as the season went on,” coach Woodard said in a press release. “When we needed them in key situations, they gave us everything they had and much more.”
Although the Bobcat’s season didn’t end as well as they would have hoped, Mullins and her team learned many valuable lessons that they plan on taking into next season.
“I wanted to lead this team to win past regionals. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it there, but it will be my goal next year too,” Mullins said. “My biggest takeaway from this season was to keep working hard no matter the outcome. This team together showed huge resiliency this year. We fell into the depths of failure at times early in the season, but we kept working hard and found the grit that we needed to win and keep winning.”

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