Inexperienced Horns eliminated early once again

Sara Beth Purdy

The Longhorns were happy with their regular season performance. They only lost eight games, defeated many top ranked opponents and earned the third overall seed in the postseason, which meant they would be able to play at home for most of the national championship tournament. Despite this, the Longhorns walked out of McCombs Field after the first weekend with two losses and fans questioning how a great situation could turn sour for the second time in a row.

“It’s extremely difficult to be finished,” said head coach Connie Clark.

Texas’ eight losses came at costly times. The first four of those losses came during the first two months of the season with three of them lost on the road. It was not until mid-April that the Longhorns were defeated 1-0 at home in a tight game against Stephen F. Austin. Texas didn’t slip again until the last two weeks of the regular season. Their final four losses came in the last two weeks of the season; two at home and two on the road. These late losses quashed any chance of gaining momentum heading into the post season.

With one of the more difficult schedules in the country, the Longhorns lacked the necessary experience to handle their big-time opponents under the national spotlight. When the games were on national television, three of their last four losses came at the hands of Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas A&M, all teams they beat at another point in the season.

All season the Texas coaching staff fielded questions regarding the youth of the team and the depth that the two incoming freshman classes brought to the field. Nine of the 15 athletes on the roster were underclassmen, and there were only three players graduating this year. The entire pitching staff, despite their impressive stats, consisted of two sophomores and one freshman. Sophomore All-American Blaire Luna was the only one in the circle with any post season experience. The 5-3 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette, which ended the Longhorns’ season, was freshman hurler Rachel Fox’s first-ever post season game.

“I definitely think that it’s a tough loss,” Luna said. “I think Louisiana did a great job and all we can do is learn from this.”