College Softball Weekly Recap: 7 Deadly Season Openers

Kiyoshi Mio/USA TODAY Sports Tori Vidales

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.

2018 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic Hype

By Lincoln Shyrack

Eastern Michigan Drops Softball Program, Along With Three Other Sports

EMU Athletics Eastern Michigan

By Marc Raimondi

Softball is one of four sports programs being dropped by Eastern Michigan University, the school announced Tuesday.

From Houston To Babson, Meet Josephine Mares

Jo Mares

When Houston native Josephine Mares decided she wanted to pursue college softball and business school in the Northeast, she made the unlikely choice to join a club team from Pennsylvania. 

College Softball Weekly Recap: UW, UCLA See Undefeated Streaks Snapped

Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports ASU

Conference play is slowly getting underway across the country, which means rivalries are being renewed and the level of competition is increasing. In the Pac-12 that meant college softball’s last two undefeated teams finally lost over the weekend, showing just how competitive things are going to be out on the West Coast in 2018.

Big Ten Weekly Viewing Guide

Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports Lilli Piper

FloSoftball is providing live and on-demand coverage for 25 non-televised Big Ten softball games this week.

No. 14 Babson Holds Off Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Rolls Past Plymouth State

Douglas DeFelice/USA TODAY Sports Field

CLERMONT, Fla.—The 14th-ranked Babson College softball team racked up 21 hits in two games and extended its winning streak to five with a pair of victories on Sunday morning at Hancock Park. The Beavers defeated the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 6-4, in their opener before finishing the sweep with an 11-3 five-inning victory over Plymouth State University.

Tufts Triumph 1-0 In Season-Opener Over Chicago

Douglas DeFelice/USA TODAY Sports Spring Games

CLERMONT, Fla. – Freshman Kristi Van Meter pitched a four-hit shutout in her collegiate debut and junior Kristen Caporelli hit a walk-off single as the Tufts softball team opened 2018 with a 1-0 victory against the University of Chicago on Saturday.

Transylvania Split With St. Mary's and Lakeland At THE Spring Games

Douglas DeFelice/USA TODAY Sports Spring Games

Clermont, Fla. – The Transylvania softball team forged a split on their fourth day of competition at the PFX Games on Thursday afternoon, taking a 3-1 defeat to the St. Mary's College (Ind.) Belles before defeating the Lakeland University (Wis.) Muskies, 9-1 in six innings.

Cathedral Catholic Pitcher Megan Faraimo Poised For Another Title

Don De Megan Faraimo Meet 2018 No. 1 Hot 100 Player Megan Faraimo

 By Carlos Arias @SoCalSidelines

For those who were hoping Cathedral Catholic of San Diego's star pitcher and No. 1 Hot 100 player Megan Faraimo would come down with a case of senioritis this season, forget about it.

Top Hitters & Pitchers To Watch At The Easton Invitational

Easton.jpg 2018 FloSoftball Live Event Season Has Arrived

Before the conference season ramps up, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and more make a pitstop at the Easton Invitational this weekend in Fullerton, California. Check out some of the top hitters and pitchers to keep on your radar during the 2018 season.

This Week Verbal Commits & Team Changes (3/15)

Orlando Jorge Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports Firecrackers

Top recruits from Firecrackers, Blaze, Athletics, and more have made their verbal commitments this week, adding to the classes of more than 20 college teams. Clemson also picks up a 2020 pitcher from Virginia.

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