Texas faces St. Edward’s to start fall season

Claire Cruz

Texas will kick off its fall season on Wednesday with a contest against St. Edward’s at Red and Charline McCombs Field.

The Longhorns have seven games on their one-month fall schedule and will focus on replacing key starters they lost last season. Texas welcomes five newcomers to the program, who will compete for those starting roles.

Texas boasts an abundance of veteran experience on its roster, including seven seniors and five position starters returning from its 38-16 season that ended at the Lafayette Regional. 

Senior pitcher Tiarra Davis, a member of the All-Big 12 First Team, and senior third baseman Celina Felix highlight the returning starters. 

Redshirt sophomore pitcher Erica Wright is still rehabbing an injury that kept her sidelined through the entire 2016 season and won’t pitch in the fall season, but she is expected to return in the spring.

 Freshman infielder Jade Gortarez will make her return to the softball field after spending her summer competing with the USA Baseball Women’s National Team. Additionally, new assistant coach Tripp MacKay will make his Longhorn debut against the Hilltoppers. MacKay’s most recent coaching stop was with Oklahoma, where he helped the Sooners win the 2013 National Championship.

 “[MacKay’s] specialty is with the offense,” head coach Connie Clark said on July 6. “But he studies every aspect of the game and prepares athletes at an exceptionally elite level. He will be a tremendous complement to our coaching staff.”

 St. Edward’s finished its 2016 season with a 26-24 record. The Hilltoppers boast a handful of talented hitters, headlined by senior infielder Alex Mayfield and sophomore infielder Megan Hoffman. They also return their top pitcher from last season in senior Lauren Slatten.

 Texas will also face Temple College, McLennan Community College and Galveston College in the fall season. The Longhorns will conclude with their toughest competition and face UTSA on the road twice before finishing the season against Texas State in Austin on Nov. 10.

Texas and St. Edwards will take the field at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.