In their last home game of the regular season, the Texas A&M University-San Antonio softball team took on the A&M-Texarkana Eagles where they split the series, taking the first game 3-0 and dropping the second 1-0.
Jaguars soar past Eagles
Both teams would go scoreless until the fifth inning when the Jaguars scored off an error by the A&M-Texarkana Eagles’ first baseman going up 2-0.
Although the Eagles kept up their defensive efforts, the Jaguars capitalized off their momentum and scored once more in the sixth to seal their win.
Head coach Nicole Dufour was impressed by how resilient the players were despite the slow start.
“We were battling one of the best pitchers not just in the conference but in the NAIA,” Dufour said. “We continued to put pressure from the beginning to the end.”
Eagles outlast Jaguars in extra innings
Both teams were tenacious on defense. No team scored during the first seven innings.
The game went into extra innings where the Eagles scored first in the motop of the eighth. The Jaguars would have a chance to answer back but couldn’t execute.
Outfielder Bri Longoria contributed to the Jaguars’ intensity on defense, making key plays in both games. Longoria said she has a responsibility to her teammates to make those plays because they all look out for each other.
“I know my pitcher is thinking ‘Oh the defense has got our back,’” Longoria said. “If anything gets hit to me I’m going all out… and if not I know my teammates got my back.”
Dufour was satisfied with the team’s performance despite the loss.
“We’ve come a long way since the start of the season,” Dufour said. “I think we played good softball…if we come [and] we do everything that we possibly can then hey, I’m happy with it and I think that’s kind of the position we were in.”
With playoffs approaching, Dufour stressed the importance of continuing to do the little things right to stay focused.
“They are student-athletes so there is a lot going on academically, so athletically we have to continue pushing.”
Playoffs begin on May 4, and the tournament will be hosted by Our Lady of the Lake University and St. Mary’s University.
The Jaguars will play their last regular season games on the road against the University of Houston-Victoria on April 26, starting at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. in Victoria.
Before starting their doubleheader on April 22, Texas A&M University-San Antonio’s softball team honored its four graduating seniors: pitcher Ebbie Rodriguez, first baseman Melissa Gonzalez, outfielder Riana Tovar and catcher Clarisa Montelongo.
These athletes were joined by their families as they stood at the pitcher’s mound holding flowers, gifts and their jerseys encased in glass.
Gonzalez said she was nostalgic about the team’s humble beginnings. Three of the four seniors have been with the program since A&M-San Antonio joined the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
“We were in our building stages. Now most of us are leaving…hopefully leaving it better,” she said.
The seniors said they wanted their legacy to represent sisterhood. Tovar said she hoped to leave a welcoming environment behind to help nurture future athletes.
“This is something that you do 24/7, so you definitely want a good sister-family environment,” Tovar said. “Just for you to want to come here every single day and play hard on the field.”