By T.D. Durham
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Texas A&M senior pitcher Savanna Lloyd may have lost credit hours and playing time to come to a school more than 1,800 miles away from her hometown of Kirkland, Wash., but she said she wouldn’t trade her experience at Texas A&M for the world.
Lloyd started playing softball as a little girl and carried the sport through high school and select teams. Though she dabbled in other sports like volleyball and track, softball was her forte.
As a student-athlete at Juanita High in Kirkland, Lloyd was team captain for three seasons, and led her team to the state tournament for the first time in 10 years.
When the time came for Lloyd to decide where to play college ball she set her gaze initially on Washington, but ended up in the program at Boston College.
In her freshman year as an Eagle, Lloyd made 14 starts and finished the season with a record of 8-6 and an ERA of 4.08. As her time at Boston College progressed, Lloyd’s playing time decreased, and so did her acceptance of the program.
“The program and the philosophy of how it was ran had things that I didn’t agree with,” Lloyd said. “It was really frustrating to see something that I put so much time into and loved all of my life not work out the way that it should.”
Little did she know that her path would cross with Aggie softball alumni Megan Gibson and Amanda Scarborough, and would eventually lead to an opportunity to get involved in a program of her liking.
Gibson and Scarborough were invited to compete in a summer tournament for a team called the Absolute Blast, which Lloyd was a member of as well. When the two Aggies traveled to play with the team, Scarborough lived with Lloyd and the two became friends.
When Scarborough learned that Lloyd had left the program at Boston College, she convinced her to travel to get in contact with A&M head coach Jo Evans.
“I told Savanna that Texas A&M was a great program, our team plays with a lot of heart and our coach is awesome,” Scarborough said. “All the things that Texas A&M represents, I said ‘you should come and join this.’”
After gaining her release at Boston College, Lloyd contacted Evans and began the process of becoming an Aggie. In her first trip to College Station, she fell in love with the atmosphere at Texas A&M.
“I flew down to visit Amanda and Megan, and that’s really what convinced me to transfer here,” Lloyd said. “I got to go to a soccer game and see the tradition here and the environment, and I fell in love with everything here.”
Though she wasn’t promised any playing time as an Aggie, Evans said she found her spot as a member of the squad by providing leadership, experience, and making the team better in practices.
“I told Savanna that if you can come here knowing that you may never play an inning, be a great teammate, and make us better every single day in practice, then we want you to be a part of us,” Evans said. “And that’s exactly what she’s done.”
But Lloyd wouldn’t go the whole year without demonstrating her skills on the mound.
In a 9-1 victory over the Iowa State on the Aggies’ Senior Day, Lloyd came into the game in the top of the fifth inning with two outs.
Working the count to two strikes, Lloyd finished off the Cyclone batter with a splitter curveball that seemed to drop off the face of the planet. It was just her eighth strikeout of the season, but Evans said it was a memorable one.
“It was such a good moment,” Evans said. “It gave me chills to see her come out and get a strikeouts and to see the fans respond the way they did.”
Despite Lloyd getting much playing time thereafter, she said being a part of this team has changed her as a person.
“This experience has made me a better person,” Lloyd said. “A lot of people tell me ‘Geez, it sounds like you’ve been through a lot to get here,’ but even with every bump in the road, it’s been worth it.”