The College Station Regional
No. 25 Texas A&M (40-16, 13-10 Big 12) has been selected by the NCAA to host the College Station Regional on Friday, May 18th on Davis Diamond in College Station, Texas. Baylor (36-16) and Southland Conference Champions, McNeese (40-19, 18-9 Southland) will play the first ball game of the double-elimination tournament on Friday at 4:30 pm ET and will be on ESPN 3 Watch ESPN. Texas A&M vs. SWAC Champions Prairie View A&M (20-21, 11-6 SWAC) will take place soon after at 7:00 pm ET and can also be viewed on ESPN 3 and Watch ESPN. A College Station Regional Champion is said to be crowned after the 2:30 pm ET game on Sunday, May 20, but will play a seventh game at 5:00 pm ET if needed. The champion will go on to Super Regionals and play the winner of the Gainesville Regional.
Ranked No. 25 coming into the College Station Regionals, Texas A&M will make their 17th-consecutive, 29th overall appearance in the NCAA DI Softball Championship. The Aggies are looking to redeem themselves in Oklahoma City this year after making a WCWS appearance last year, finishing seventh. Texas A&M also hosted and won Regionals in 2017 as well as defeated Tennessee to become Super Regional Champions. As a team, the Aggies are batting .289 overall, with 41 home runs and 65 doubles for the season. On the mound, Texas A&M pitching staff has a 2.14 ERA, 287 strikeouts in the 375.1 innings pitched, and three of their six pitchers below a 2.0 ERA for the season. If every one of the Aggies does their job, they will be a tough team to knock out of this Regional Tournament.
Most Likely to Upset
Defeated in their Big 12 Championship game by Oklahoma on Saturday and losing their chance at hosting, Baylor is headed to the College Station Regional for another shot. This will be the Lady Bears eighth consecutive, 13th overall NCAA tournament appearance. Previously facing McNeese and winning two of the three games, Baylor is looking to take home a win in Friday’s match-up and make an attempt at the Super Regional as they’ve done six times before. With a team average of .318, the Lady Bears have picked up 239 RBI, and 33 home runs this season. Baylor also has a couple of strong pitchers leading the team with a 2.49 ERA and 334 strikeouts in the 342.1 innings they’ve pitched as a unit.
Players to Watch
Texas A&M senior catcher, Ashley Walters was named to the 2018 summer roster for the Scrap Yard Fast Pitch, an independent women’s professional softball team out of Conroe, Texas. With numbers to back up the Scrap Yard’s decision, Walters is batting .319, has 34 RBI, seven doubles, and four home runs on the season. Sitting behind the plate on defense, she has managed to gun down 11 out of the 19 runners that tried stealing on her this year.
Pitcher Trinity Harrington (13-5, 5-3 SEC) of Texas A&M is also a person of interest in this tournament. On the rubber, she has kept a 1.80 ERA, pitched 124.1 innings (62 SEC), and has struck out 64.
Gia Rodoni (22-11, 8-4 Big 12), a pitcher for Baylor, has stood on the mound over twice as much than any other pitcher on the staff with 205.2 just to herself. Rodoni has struck out 251 of the teams 334 batters and has kept her opponents to a .215 batting average.
Kyla Walker, a junior outfielder for Baylor, also stands out for this tournament. Walker has a .476 batting average from her team-high 63 at-bats. She also leads the Lady Bears in hits with 30 and has a fielding percentage of 1.000.
Texas A&M is one of the nine SEC team hosting a Regional Tournament and could face another SEC team in Super Regionals. The Aggies come off a loss in the first round of the SEC Tournament to Mississippi State. With Baylor winning their last Regional tournament and looking to advancing into the Super Regional again this year, I think it’s safe to say Texas A&M and Baylor might be our matchup coming into the championship round. Texas A&M will have to come out strong, but there’s reason to believe they will come out on top and advance.