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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

2024 College Station Regional preview

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Mandalyn Lewallen
The Texas State softball team celebrates its win against South Alabama in the Sun Belt Conference tournament semifinal game, Friday, May 10, 2024, at Bobcat Softball Stadium.

Texas State softball (45-13) will compete in the College Station Regional this weekend. The regional will run from May 17-19 at Davis Diamond in College Station. Joining Texas State is the host team Texas A&M University (40-13), Pennsylvania State University (34-13) and the University of Albany (33-12).

Here’s everything to know about the teams in the College Station Regional.

 

No. 1 Seed, Texas A&M

Finishing third place in the Southeastern Conference, the Aggies earned the right to host a regional. Led by one of the top pitchers in the country, junior Emiley Kennedy, Texas A&M competes in just about every game it plays.

Kennedy posted a 1.68 ERA over 175.0 innings pitched. Kennedy also finished the season 25th in the country in strikeouts, with 183. If any of the three visiting teams want to walk out of College Station, they’re going to have to go through the 21-game winner to do so.

On the offensive side, Texas A&M is led by junior infielder Koko Wooley. Wooley led the Aggies in batting average, hitting at a .366 clip to finish the regular season. This is the second consecutive season Wooley led the Aggies in batting average.

Wooley swiped 18 bags this season for Texas A&M as well, only being caught twice. Keeping Wooley off the bases will be key for any team to succeed against the Aggies.

 

No. 2 Seed, Texas State

Fresh off winning the Sun Belt Conference tournament, Texas State looks to have similar success in College Station. After winning 45 games this season, the Bobcats have the most wins of teams in the College Station Regional.

Like Texas A&M, the Bobcats are led by one of the top pitchers in the country in senior Jessica Mullins. Mullins leads the country in wins with 30, is sixth in the country with a 1.20 ERA and 12th in strikeouts, fanning 209 this season.

Being hailed by D1 Softball and Softball America as a top 10 pitcher in the country, Mullins will be the key to Texas State’s fate this weekend.

On offense, the Bobcats are led by graduate student infielder Sara Vanderford. The Sun Belt Conference named Vanderford the Most Outstanding Player of the Sun Belt tournament after she hit .500 on the weekend.

Batting .360 for the season with 11 home runs, 24 doubles and 48 RBIs, Texas State Head Coach Ricci Woodard said as Vanderford goes, so do the Bobcats.

The Bobcats also enter the regional 4-0 against teams in the field.

 

No. 3 Seed, Penn State

Finishing seventh in the Big 10 Conference, Penn State was one of the teams on the “bubble” for an NCAA tournament bid. Penn State’s 38 rank in the rating percentage index (RPI) was enough for the NCAA committee to give the Nittany Lions one of the “last four in” spots in the field of 64.

There is no shortage of quality starting pitchers in the tournament this weekend. Although Mullins and Kennedy garner much of the attention, Penn State’s freshman pitcher Bridget Nemeth can hold her own with the best of them.

With a record of 22-5 and an ERA of 1.71, Nemeth proved to be a true ace in her freshman year. Nemeth is also one of the top strikeout pitchers in the country, sitting down 186, good enough for 20th in the nation.

Penn State boasts a potent offense as well. With three players hitting over .340 and five hitting over .300, the Nittany Lions score just over five runs a game. Combining this offense with Nemeth in the circle makes Penn State appear to be a tough out.

 

No. 4 Seed, Albany

Winners of the American East Conference, Albany received the automatic NCAA tournament bid.

With three players hitting over .350 and five over .300, Albany has the bats to keep themselves in games this coming weekend. Like Penn State, the Great Danes are scoring just over five runs per game.

Graduate student Wendi Hammond leads the Albany pitching staff. Hammond had an impressive season, winning 24 games and posting an ERA of just under 2.0 in the process.

Although Albany will be the heavy underdog regardless of who they face, stranger things have happened, so don’t count out the Great Danes.

The opening-round Matchups will be No. 1 Texas A&M versus No. 4 Albany and No. 2 Texas State versus No. 3 Penn State.

Texas State swept Penn State in a three-game series earlier this season and defeated the Aggies 4-3 in their lone meeting this year.

The opening pitch between Texas State and Penn State is scheduled to be thrown at 3 p.m. Friday, May 17, at Davis Diamond in College Station. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.

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