84° San Marcos
The Student News Site of Texas State University

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

Freshman pitcher’s hot start propels softball to 10-3 record

Texas+State+freshman+pitcher+Jessica+Mullins+%284%29+points+to+home+plate%2C+Friday%2C+March+5%2C+2021%2C+at+Bobcat+Softball+Stadium.+The+Bobcats+won+6-1.

Texas State freshman pitcher Jessica Mullins (4) points to home plate, Friday, March 5, 2021, at Bobcat Softball Stadium. The Bobcats won 6-1.

After nearly a year away from competitive play, Texas State softball has returned this season to build on a foundation set in 2020 before the season cancellation. At the forefront of its efforts is a freshman pitcher the team hopes develops into a star for years to come.
Jessica Mullins made her collegiate debut in the Bobcats’ season opener against Abilene Christian University on Feb. 22, where she finished the contest with a seven-inning no-hitter with 12 strikeouts. It was the first seven-inning no-hitter by a freshman in program-history since former All-American Randi Rupp accomplished the feat on March 23, 2015.
Mullins says she was nervous going into the game. Those nerves translated into hitting a batter with her first career pitch. But it did not take long for her to get into a rhythm, as she struck out three consecutive batters in the first inning.
“I knew I needed to get over the jitters quick,” Mullins says. “Once the first couple of innings went by, I felt like I settled in and I got into my comfort zone and I just started dealing.”
Assistant coach Paige McDuffee, who primarily works with the pitching staff, noticed Mullins’ excitement in pregame warm-ups and helped calm her nerves.
“I definitely talked to Jess about slowing herself down because she’s an athlete who can get very hyped,” McDuffee says. “She gets very into that gamer mode where she gets a little too overhyped… So we worked on some breathing and just worked on slowing it down as much as we could before [the game].”
Head Coach Ricci Woodard praises Mullins’ ability to stay focused in the game and says she was “fun to watch.”
“When you have a freshman that’s able to keep her emotions under control like that on opening day of her career, you know she probably has a bright future ahead of her,” Woodard says.
Mullins says she did not expect to start the game. When she did, she did not expect to put up the kind of performance she did.
“I just came out with the mentality to just do my job,” Mullins says. “Get nice grounders that my defense can back me up on. Just overall get the win, not necessarily get a no-hitter with 12 K’s.”
Mullins finished the week with 24 strikeouts, a .179 opponent batting average, a 1.22 earned run average along with her first career save against Mississippi State University on Feb. 26. Mullins subsequently was named the Sun Belt Conference Softball Pitcher of the Week.
Since then, Mullins has tacked on another complete game along with 18 strikeouts.
“To start your career that way is kinda where you want to be,” Woodard says. “That’s what you dream about is coming into college and being able to kinda leave your mark right away and build from there is what you hope.”
Woodard says that Mullins’ ability to stay aggressive and not shy away from batters makes her unique compared to other pitchers.
“She throws the ball hard,” Woodard says. “She goes right at hitters. A lot of pitchers like to have more finesse than she does, but she wants to go right at you.”
Regardless of the start to her season, Mullins says she wants to ensure she continues to play at a high level.
“I know I have to keep doing good in order to show everyone that I still have the capabilities to be D1 material and be great D1 material, but the baseline is to keep doing my job,” Mullins says. “You hear about Cat Osterman, Jennie Finch, Amanda Scarborough all just being these top pitchers. I just want to want to be one of them or maybe even better.”

Donate to The University Star

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The University Star