College Softball Weekly Recap: 7 Deadly Season Openers

Kiyoshi Mio/USA TODAY Sports

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

New NCAA Transfer Rule Waives Permission-To-Contact Process

Gary Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

Good news for college players who want to transfer. NCAA Division I student-athletes will now have the ability to transfer without granted permission from their current schools, effective October 15, 2018. 

FloSoftball Accepting FAB 50 Club Teams Nominations

Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports

We are currently updating the FAB 50 club rankings and want to hear from you about the top teams in the country!

Eugene Lenti Retires After 37 Seasons As DePaul Softball Coach

DePaul Athletics

After a nearly 40-year run at DePaul, Eugene Lenti has retired as the Blue Demons' head softball coach.

This Week's Verbal Commitments & Team Changes (6/14)

Orlando Jorge Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports

We are still catching up on many verbals that were made before the early contact date was changed. This week alone we've added more than 70 commits, along with some team changes.

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USSSA Pride To Host NPF’s First-Ever LGBT Pride Night


As we kick off June’s LGBT Month, the USSSA Pride announced they will host professional softball’s first-ever LGBT Pride Night on June 20 to celebrate diversity and inclusion. 

The Ugly Side Of Early Specialization

Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports

By Kaila Holtz @kailaholtz

Amanda Lorenz Joins USA WNT At Japan All-Star Series

Rob Ferguson/USA TODAY Softball

OKLAHOMA CITY — USA Softball announced today that Amanda Lorenz (Moorpark, Calif.) will be joining the USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) at the 2018 Japan All-Star Series.  Lorenz, an outfielder who will be entering her senior season at the University of Florida, returns to the USA Softball WNT program with previous experience, having played on the 2016 Women's Elite Team.Lorenz, along with the Japan All-Star Series roster, will go through training camp and exhibition games this week at the Scrap Yard Complex before setting their sights on the Japan All-Star Series June 20-23, 2018 where they will face the Japan National Team in a three-game series.Led by Head Coach Laura Berg (Corvallis, Ore./Head Coach at Oregon State), Patty Gasso (Torrance, Calif./Head Coach at Oklahoma), Melyssa Lombardi (Glendale, Ariz./Associate Head Coach at Oklahoma) and two-time Olympian Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif./Director of Operations at CSUN) will serve as Assistant Coaches for the 2018 USA Softball Japan All-Star Series roster.

FloSoftball Partners With AthPro360 To Launch FloShowdown ID Camps

Gary Rohman/USA TODAY Sports

FloSoftball, the innovator in live and original softball content, today announced an exclusive partnership with AthPro360 to launch the FloShowdown ID camps for 14U to 18U and JUCO players. AthPro360 is the world’s most comprehensive and technologically advanced collegiate athletic recruiting and player development platform. 

Rutgers Named Kristen Butler Head Softball Coach

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (June 8, 2018) – Rutgers Athletics has announced the hiring of Kristen Butler as the next head coach of the Scarlet Knights' softball program. A former SEC Player of the Year and record-setting professional softball player in the United States and Japan, Butler has spent the last four seasons turning around the program as head coach at Toledo while earning the 2018 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year honor.

Renee Gillispie Named Iowa Softball Head Coach

UCF Athletics

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Renee Gillispie has been named head softball coach at the University of Iowa, Henry B. and Patricia B Tippie Director of Athletics Chair Gary Barta announced Friday.