College Softball Weekly Recap: 7 Deadly Season Openers

It’s the time of year every college softball fan eagerly looks forward to— opening weekend. Although Mother Nature tried to spoil some of the fun, the road to Oklahoma City began in earnest this past weekend, and we’ve got the highlights to prove it. 

Here were the moments that got the 2018 NCAA softball season off to a running start:

1. Texas A&M caps comeback with walk-off win in season opener

Texas A&M kicked off its pursuit of another World Series berth in 2018 with a thrilling 5-4 home win over Houston on Friday. 

The fifth-ranked Aggies trailed 4-0 in the fourth after the visiting Cougars' Mariah Garcia launched a solo shot off A&M’s Samantha Show, but overcoming that deficit would make victory that much sweeter. 

Texas A&M whittled away at Houston's lead by getting on the board in the fifth before tying it up in the sixth with a clutch two-out double from sophomore Sarah Hudek. That set things up for the fireworks that would come in the bottom half of the next frame.

With runners on second and third and no outs, senior slugger Tori Vidales delivered. Her liner to left-center in the seventh off Tryston Melancon scored Keeli Milligan and the party was on in College Station.

The Aggies picked up three more wins (two vs. Boston College, one vs. Texas Tech) to cap off a perfect weekend in their hometown Aggie Classic. A scheduled rematch against Houston was unfortunately canceled due to inclement weather.

2. Washington’s Heather Tarr sets school record with 533rd win

The sixth-ranked Huskies utterly dominated their competition over the three days at the Peterson Hotels Invitational in Peoria, Illinois, outscoring their opponents by a combined 70-3. 

The real story, however, was head coach Heather Tarr making history in the opener by setting the program’s all-time win record of 533 in the Huskies 15-3 victory against St. Louis on Friday. 

The UW legend has eclipsed 30 wins in every season of her career, and she led the program to a national title in 2009.

Under Tarr’s tutelage, the Dawgs will have a great shot to make their sixth College World Series under her watch in 2018.

3. Mississippi State’s Holly Ward throws second perfect game in school history

It had been over 20 years since Mississippi State recorded a perfect game, but senior Holly Ward changed that on Friday against visiting Mississippi Valley State by delivering five clean frames in the Bulldogs’ 10-0 season-opening rout. 

Ward took the circle with a comfortable 6-0 lead in the first, and she proceeded to punch out 11 of the 15 batters she faced on the day. The 11 Ks were a career high for Ward.

Ward was nasty all afternoon in Starkville, MS, and here were some of the highlights from her history-making gem:

4. Oklahoma State grabs upset of the weekend over No. 12 Arizona

The Cowgirls couldn’t plate a run in their season-opening loss to Oregon State in the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, AZ, on Friday, but they made up for it against No. 12 Arizona in their next game later that day to record the upset of the weekend. Junior Madi Sue Montgomery cranked two homers against the Wildcats and senior transfer Emmie Robertson picked up the win in her team debut as OSU beat Arizona 9-4.

The win was plenty exciting enough, but senior infielder Vanessa Shippy added a bit more reason to celebrate by breaking the school record for walks with her 123rd free pass.

The Cowgirls carried over the momentum of their big win through the rest of the weekend, as they left Tempe with a 4-1 record.

5. Dem' web gems

Look, homers are great and strikeouts are nice, but what’s a weekend highlight piece without a few nice grabs? That’s rhetorical, of course. Here were some of the best moments in the field:

6. OK, now let’s check out some dingers

7. The top 10 squads flat-out dominated

The top teams in our FloSoftball preseason NCAA rankings finished opening weekend without a single blemish, as the top 10 teams combined to go 47-0. Here’s a look at how each team fared:

1. Oklahoma: 5-0

2. Florida: 5-0

3. Oregon: 6-0

4. UCLA: 6-0 

5. Texas A&M: 4-0

6. Washington: 5-0

7. LSU: 4-0

8. Florida State: 4-0

9. Tennessee: 6-0

10. Alabama: 3-0 

Of course, there were a lot of blowouts thrown in there as the best of the best faced some weaker opponents to bust the rust, but the competition will soon ramp up. Mary Nutter begins next weekend — LIVE on Flo — and seven of those 10 teams above will be there. We can’t wait.


By Lincoln Shyrack

THE Spring Games Weekly Viewing Guide


THE Spring Games is back. With almost 400 college softball teams participating, THE Spring Games is undoubtedly the largest college softball event in the world.

Heart Over Height, Julie Graf Makes Her Mark At St. Olaf

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Even though she grew up in Sammamish, Washington, St. Olaf College righthander Julie Graf was an avid New York Yankees fan. It had more to do with her parents, Paul and Barb, being East Coast transplants and lifelong fans themselves than anything else (with all due respect to the major league team 30 minutes away).

Will Norco Softball Dominate & Capture Another CIF Title?

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Heading into last weekend’s Dave Kops Tournament of Champions in the Arizona desert, the consensus No. 1 team in the nation, the Norco HS Cougars, had previously returned home to Riverside County with the tournament championship three times.

No. 24 Indianapolis Shuts Out Urbana & Minnesota Duluth

The No. 24 UIndy softball team (17-5) had a particularly memorable pitching day Wednesday, as sophomore Halie Waters and freshman Amy Kaniewski combined to allow just four hits in a pair of shutout wins at THE Spring Games. In their final day of competition in the Sunshine State, the Greyhounds topped both Urbana and Minnesota Duluth by identical scores of 3-0.

No. 22 Southern New Hampshire Sweeps Molloy At THE Spring Games


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No. 22 Southern New Hampshire sweeps Molloy.

No. 2 Illinois Wesleyan Takes Down Amherst & Millsaps


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The No. 2-ranked Illinois Wesleyan softball team defeated Millsaps College, 2-1, and downed Amherst, 8-0, on the team's second day of action at THE Spring Games in Clermont, Fla., on Wednesday, March 13.

Moving Up In The Rankings, Augustana Finishes Strong At THE Spring Games


Playing for the final time during their spring break trip in Florida, the No. 18 Augustana softball team made a significant statement on the diamond. The Vikings picked up a pair of wins, starting with an 8-0 win over Nyack (NY), and closing out the day with a 12-0 no-hitter over Millersville (PA). Augustana picks up their eighth straight win and moves to 16-4 (0-0 NSIC) on the year.

What To Watch: Illinois Wesleyan vs. Rowan Rematch At THE Spring Games


This week’s action at the Spring Games in Clermont, Florida will feature a Saturday evening matchup between last season’s NCAA Division III Runner-up Illinois Wesleyan and reigning New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Champion Rowan.

What To Watch For At The Easton Invitational

College Softball Is Here

March 14-17 the Easton Invitational kicks off with Cal State Fullerton headlining the bill along with Boston University, DePaul, Iowa State, Harvard, Charleston, and Long Beach State LIVE on FloSoftball. 

No. 3 UT Tyler Edges Out DII No. 22 Augustana

Augustana vs. Texas-Tyler

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CLERMONT, Fla.—Division III No. 3 University of Texas at Tyler Softball (13-1) defeated NCAA Division II opponent No. 22 Augustana University (8-5) with a 7-6 score Saturday evening at THE Spring Games.