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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

Three takeaways from Texas State softball’s sweep against Appalachian State

Mandalyn Lewallen
The Texas State softball team celebrates its victory over Texas A&M, Wednesday, March. 20, 2024, at Bobcat Softball Stadium.

Texas State softball (26-7, 5-1 Sun Belt Conference) brought out the brooms last weekend, sweeping conference rival Appalachian State University (15-13, 3-3 Sun Belt Conference) in three games.

The Bobcats held the Mountaineers scoreless all series, winning 6-0 on Friday, 11-0 on Saturday, and 1-0 on Sunday. Here are three takeaways from Texas State’s impressive weekend:


Senior pitcher Jessica Mullins might be the best pitcher in the country


With how dominant Mullins has been in her collegiate career, it’s no surprise that she’s performing the way she is in 2024. She is among the NCAA Division One leaders for various statistics, including ranking first in wins and innings pitched with 16 and 118.1, ninth in ERA with 0.83, and tenth in strikeouts with 112.

Mullins further established her legacy by winning Sun Belt Player of the Week last week, her fourth time receiving the honor this season. In addition to pitching a solid game against Texas A&M last Wednesday, Mullins hurled two complete game shutouts against the Mountaineers on Friday and Sunday. In 14 innings last weekend, Mullins allowed six hits and two walks while striking out nine batters.


The Bobcats’ offense is to be reckoned with


Although the Texas State offense only scored one run in Sunday’s victory, it scored 18 runs in the series against Appalachian State. For a team known for its stellar pitching, the offense also deserves recognition.

Graduate student third baseman Sara Vanderford reached a new milestone in game two of the series, tying the all-time program RBI record with 164 on her program-leading 65th career double. Vanderford continues to be the centerpiece of the Bobcats’ offense, with her slash line currently sitting at .351/.417/.660 after a three-hit weekend.

Besides Vanderford, players with key offensive performances this past weekend include senior center fielder Piper Randolph, who had four hits, including a double and three RBIs, senior shortstop Hannah Earls, and sophomore second baseman Katarina Zarate, who each notched three hits.


Freshman pitcher Madison Azua is the real deal


With Mullins being a senior, the future of the pitching staff is up in the air, potentially causing anxiety to those involved with the team. Luckily, Azua has likely eased the nerves of many with how she has been performing thus far in her first collegiate season, posting a 2.01 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 45.1 innings pitched.

After a tough outing against the University of Texas at El Paso on March 1, in which she allowed five runs in 3.1 innings, Azua has stepped up her game, allowing only one run in 9.1 innings since then. She pitched four shutout innings in the run-rule victory over the Mountaineers on Saturday, letting up four hits and zero walks with three strikeouts.

Texas State will look to bring their win streak to five in a matchup against Sam Houston University on Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Huntsville, Texas.

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