No. 18 Texas A&M softball opens the 2017 season hosting Central Michigan, Lamar and Ohio State at the Aggie Classic Friday through Sunday at the Aggie Softball Complex.
The Aggie Classic begins at 12:15 p.m. with Ohio State vs. Central Michigan, while Texas A&M opens against Lamar at 5:15 p.m.
“I am excited to finally get the season going,” head coach Jo Evans said. “All three teams coming in are really well coached, feisty and high energy. We are going to have a target on our back, there is no question about that. I feel like everyone coming in here is going to have their best day and come wanting to play.”
The Aggies return eight of their position starters from a year ago, led by junior All-American Tori Vidales, who led the Aggies in batting average (.406), slugging percentage (.712), OBP (.519) and walks (40). Junior catcher Ashley Walters was selected to the All-SEC First Team after hitting .359 with 10 home runs and 58 RBI. Junior shortstop Kristen Cuyos returns after leading the team with 16 home runs and 61 RBI.
In the circle, the Maroon and White return sophomore Samantha Show and junior Trinity Harrington. Last season, Show tied for first in the SEC in wins with 25 and tossed 17 complete games. The East Bernard, Texas, native also hit .274 with 13 dingers and 31 RBI. Harrington started 21 games and compiled seven wins with a 3.89 ERA.
Central Michigan returns seven starters from last year’s team that finished 24-27-1 (11-11-1 MAC). Leading the Chippewas is sophomore Allison Curtis, who led the team with a .336 batting average and was selected to the All-MAC First Team and All-Freshman Team. In the circle, CMU returns senior Rachael Knapp, who led the team with 14 wins, a 2.76 ERA and 196 strikeouts.
Lamar is coming off a 35-22 (18-9 SLC) season and returns eight starters and 11 letterwinners.
Last season, junior Brittany Rodriguez led the Cardinals with a .393 average and a team-high 14 stolen bases. In the circle, senior Ciara Luna is coming off a 17-8 season with a 2.60 ERA and 112 strikeouts.
Ohio State returns six starters and its entire five-person pitching staff from last year’s squad that finished 34-20-1 (13-9-1 B1G) and advanced to the NCAA Knoxville Regional. Senior pitchers Shelby Hursh and Lena Springer led the Buckeyes to a team ERA of 3.32. Three of Ohio State’s top five hitters return from last season, as the trio of junior Taylor White, senior Alex Bayne and sophomore Emily Clark combined to hit 31 home runs with 108 RBI and 117 runs scored.