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No. 1 Texas softball survives Texas A&M. What awaits at the Women’s College World Series?



Regardless of what happens at the Women’s College World Series later this week in Oklahoma City, it will be hard to match the pure drama of Texas softball’s scintillating super regional series against Texas A&M.

The thrills came down to the final at-bat in the Longhorns’ 6-5 win in the third and final game Sunday at McCombs Field. After a three-run homer from catcher Julia Cottrell pulled the Aggies within one run in the top of the seventh inning, Texas A&M had two on with two outs after a pair of walks from Texas freshman pitcher Teagan Kavan, the Big 12’s freshman of the year.

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But Kavan met the moment and fanned pinch hitter Amari Harper for the third and final out, which triggered a wild celebration on the field and in the sold-out stands. She had three strikeouts in 1.2 innings in relief of starter Mac Morgan, and each one seemed to trump the previous in timeliness; her two other strikeouts came at the end of the sixth inning after Texas A&M loaded the bases with one out.

“There’s nothing like throwing a kid in the deep end,” Texas coach Mike White said. “She was nervous, there’s no doubt about it, but you’ve got to get over that. And, you know, I just trusted that she would give it her best shot.”

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Even after she walked two straight Texas A&M batters in the seventh with two outs?

“Maybe I was rethinking things at that moment,” he said with a chuckle. “But I knew she’d knuckle down. She got the job done, was able to make the big pitch in the big moment, and that, hopefully, will give her some confidence going forward. And not only just her but the rest of the staff as well. They have each other’s backs.”

Kavan credited her fellow pitchers as well as catcher Reese Atwood for helping give her nerves a semblance of calm.

“Reese just kept telling me ‘Hey, we have a cushion and those runs don’t matter,’ ” Kavan said. “I kept focusing on the speaker at the top of the field and would take a deep breath. I knew my team had me and got me through it.”

The Texas bats also got through the Aggies’ pitching staff with relative ease while setting a program record for most runs in a super regional series with 20. Shortstop Vivi Martinez went 3-for-4 with two RBIs on Sunday, including an RBI triple as part of Texas’ 3-run sixth inning. Third baseman Mia Scott went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, including a solo home run.

The Longhorns (52-8) will now prep for their seventh appearance at the WCWS and second under sixth-year coach Mike White. Two years ago, Texas reached the finals as an unseeded team before falling to rival Oklahoma.

Texas will open the WCWS on Thursday against Stanford, which shut out LSU in a game three 8-0 Sunday evening.

But White wanted to savor the moment of beating Texas A&M (44-15) for a few hours before thing about the next opponent. Texas scored only one more run than the Aggies in the best-of-three series, which included a 6-5 win by Texas A&M on Friday and a 9-8 extra-inning win by Texas on Saturday.

“Obviously never a dull moment in a Texas softball game,” he said. “We knew we had a tough go of it, and they (the Aggies) certainly lived up to the bill.”

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