Head coach Connie Clark consistently praises the depth of her 2016 roster, and it’s becoming evident why.
Sixteen players on the No. 21 Texas squad have at least one RBI, and six different Longhorns have homered in the first two weeks of the season. The veterans that have become staples of the program are performing well, but it’s the newcomers that have everyone talking.
Junior transfer Celina Felix, along with freshmen Reagan Hathaway and Christina Bardwell, are a few of the new names making a big impact. They own the top three batting averages for Texas and have found immediate success on the 40 Acres.
“If you don’t know who they are yet, I suggest you start looking at our stats,” senior second baseman Stephanie Ceo said. “It takes all nine players to carry this team to the World Series. It doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman or senior, we’re all going to step into the box and be ready to play.”
Felix earned Co-Player of the Week honors from the Big 12 for her four-home run, and nine-RBI performance in the Houston Hilton Plaza Invitational last weekend. She leads Texas with a .448 batting average and has the top spot in four other offensive categories.
Hathaway’s 10 RBI and .440 batting average are both second on the team to Felix. Bardwell is third-best with her .412 batting average and has filled several roles for Texas.
As the newcomers continue to find success on the field, they’re becoming more confident and comfortable with the team.
“When I first started out I was a little bit nervous,” Hathaway said. “You want to impress the girls and show that you’re worthy of being here. I started seeing success and it’s really helped with my confidence when I go to the plate.”
Texas will attempt to achieve its best start in program history with a potential 6–0 weekend in the Texas Invitational at Red and Charline McCombs Field.
The Longhorns will kick off the tournament against Abilene Christian on Thursday night. They’ll play the Wildcats and Tulsa twice, as well as one game against Illinois and Weber State, respectively.
“We all individually have our own confidence, but starting off hot has boosted it more,” Felix said. “We’re able to play loose and free, and good things happen when you have more fun.”