A&M advances to Super Regionals with run-rule victory over Texas State


When Texas State softball senior RHP Jessica Mullins and Texas A&M junior LHP Emiley Kennedy each started Sunday’s Bryan-College Station Regional championship game, it was hard to not have flashbacks to Saturday’s pitchers’ duel between the two, when A&M narrowly defeated the Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year and her Bobcats in a 1-0 win. 

Kennedy played her part in recreating the earlier matchup, pitching a complete game and conceding just a single hit. But Mullins and the rest of the Bobcats — who faced Penn State in the losers’ bracket hours after their loss to the Aggies — were gassed.

“They had the advantage, but she had to go last night,” Texas State coach Ricci Woodard said. “Last time I got here, it was at this very stadium that I swore I would never not make it to a regional title game because I didn’t have my ace in the game…Jessica Mullins is always going to want the ball and I don’t think that’s ever going to change in her lifetime.”

A&M took advantage of Texas State’s fatigue, recording 12 hits in five innings in an 8-0 run-rule victory over the Bobcats to advance to the Austin Super Regional, where the Aggies will face the Texas Longhorns with a spot in the Women’s College World Series on the line. 

“That’s my expectation,” coach Trisha Ford said. “When I came here, I told them ‘My job is to take us to Super Regionals and the World Series on a consistent basis.’” 

The flashbacks to Saturday continued when senior C Julia Cottrill gave the Aggies their first run of the game with a sacrifice fly in the first inning — the same way A&M scored its only run of the game in the earlier matchup. 

Kennedy was happy to relive Saturday when she held the Bobcats to just four hits in a full seven innings of work. This time, Kennedy held Texas State to one hit in her second complete-game shutout in as many days. 

“It begins and ends in the circle,” Ford said. “To watch Emiley Kennedy this weekend, man oh man. If I’ve ever seen an All-American, there it is. That kid was as efficient as heck yesterday and today, and just put the team on her back and rolled with it.”

Unlike Saturday, A&M did not stop with a single run: Senior 2B Rylen Wiggins began the second inning with a leadoff home run shot to left-center field, and sophomore 3B Kennedy Powell fired a laser of her own over the right field wall to drive in two more runs and give the Aggies some breathing room over the Bobcats with a 4-0 lead.

“I was honestly just hoping she didn’t throw me a changeup,” Wiggins said. “Changeup in the dirt has been a little bit of a weakness of mine. So I saw something up and middle and put the foot down in turn.”

As Mullins was replaced by senior RHP Tori McCann to begin the third inning, that breathing room quickly turned into a run-rule situation. 

Wiggins gave the Aggies another run when she scampered home on a passed ball. That was followed by RBI hits from sophomore PH Aiyana Coleman, Powell, and junior shortstop Koko Wooley in the third inning to give the Aggies enough for the run-rule victory.

A&M has played its last game at Davis Diamond this season, but as the Maroon and White head to Austin to face the Longhorns, they’re hungry for a trip to Oklahoma City and a spot in the WCWS. 

“We want it more,” Wiggins said. “…All of the seniors in particular, we have something really big to play for and the girls behind us, the underclassmen, are stepping up as well. It’s going to mean a lot to play there with this group of girls, and we’re not ready to stop.”