Texas State softball (2-0) won its first two games against the Abilene Christian University Wildcats (2-4) in a doubleheader on Feb. 22.
These were the Bobcats’ first games since March. 11, 2020 before their season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Head Coach Ricci Woodard points out the the team’s rust after almost a year of not playing, but appreciates their aggressiveness.
“Well obviously there were some miscues and somethings that you can tell we haven’t played in 345 days but overall, I couldn’t be more pleased with how we came out and played aggressively,” Woodard says.
In the first game, Texas State freshman right-handed pitcher Jessica Mullins had four strikeouts in the first two innings. At the bottom of the second the Bobcats got on the board 1-0 as freshman infielder Baylee Lemons stole home plate.
Mullins added two more strikeouts to her total in the third inning. With the Bobcats at bat in the bottom of the third, senior infielder Tara Oltmann hit a fly ball into center field allowing freshman outfielder Piper Randolph to run home to go up 2-0.
Mullins continued her hot streak by striking out two Wildcats in the fourth inning. At the bottom of the fifth, the Bobcats put up an additional two runs to lead 4-0.
In the sixth inning Mullins had three strikeouts to bring her total to 11 for the game. Texas State went up with single-run homers by Lemons and sophomore infield/catcher Sara Vanderford to lead 6-0.
Mullins finished her college debut with a no-hitter and 12 strikeouts for the game.
In the second game, both teams went scoreless for the first and second innings. ACU Senior right-handed pitcher Dalilah Barrera completed two no-hit innings.
At the top of the third inning, ACU’s senior infielder Calie Burris hit a two-run home run to advance the score 2-0. The Bobcats couldn’t manage to get any runs off of attempted hits.
The Bobcats managed to crank out a two-run homer from Oltmann to tie up the score 2-2. Senior infielder Hailey MacKay followed up with a single-run homer which gave Texas State a 3-2 lead.
At the bottom of the fifth, freshman outfielder Piper Randolph slid into home plate off of a steal and a fielding error from the Wildcats to take the lead 4-2.
In the sixth inning, sophomore infielder/catcher Sara Vanderford hit a two-run homer to extend the Bobcats’ lead 6-2, leaving little room for the Wildcats to make a comeback going into the seventh inning. Vanderford says her aggressiveness allowed her to hit her home-run.
“I was just looking up there and my first at-bat wasn’t the best and I wasn’t aggressive on that first strike, so I knew my next at-bat I wanted to be more aggressive,” Vanderford says. “It was right there, and I put a good swing on it and I think I got the momentum going a little bit.”
The Wildcats struck out in the seventh to end the game giving the Bobcats the 6-2 win. Vanderford and Oltmann both led the Bobcats as they each had a home run and two runs batted in. For the Wildcats, Burris had the team’s lone home run with two runs batted in.
Woodward acknowledges her team’s slow start but she commends their ability to come back and believes their resilience will pay off in the future.
“I think that’s the thing I like about this group the most is that the resiliency we’re probably going to have all year showed a little bit today,” Woodward says. “I’d like to not have those lulls, but I do like that about this group, that they’re going to bounce back pretty easily,”
Coming up next for the Bobcats is a matchup at 1 p.m. on Feb. 24 against the University of Texas at McCombs Field in Austin, Texas.