Injuries and losses present adversity for the Longhorns heading into Texas Tech series

Leah Vann

Sophomore centerfielder Reagan Hathaway was lying down in the outfield, holding her right knee in pain at the top of the third inning during last Friday’s matchup against Oklahoma. 

Hathaway collided with senior first baseman Kelli Hanzel trying to catch a ball in the outfield, and now she’s out for the season with a torn ACL. Hathaway is a huge loss to the Texas offense, standing as the No. 3 hitter in the batting lineup. She currently leads the Big 12 in triples and holds the second most home runs and RBI’s for the Longhorns.

But Hathaway’s injury is just another thing gone wrong for the Longhorns this season. Freshman second baseman Jade Gortarez is also struggling with a foot injury, making her questionable from game to game. And the losses have been piling up. 

In its first two Big 12 series, Texas has lost every single game. The Longhorns dropped every game to Oklahoma State by one run, and after battling close with the Sooners in game one, the Longhorns lost 3-1, 6-0 in the following games. 

“I think we need to find a way to have some takeaways from it,” head coach Connie Clark said. “You have to find the good and the low points.”

The Longhorns have had a full week to recover from the Oklahoma series, now they will travel to Lubbock for their third Big 12 matchup against Texas Tech. 

Texas currently leads the series all-time 36-10, boasting a 16-4 record in Lubbock. While the odds are historically on their side, the Longhorns are still looking to overcome barriers that prevent them from closing out games.

“The little things I would say are just seeing the ball all the way to the gloves,” Hanzel said. “And getting those timely hits, pitchers getting the pitches. Baserunning as well, people don’t really think about that, but I think baserunning is one of the big things.

The fundamentals are important. The lack of communication in the outfield showed on Friday against the Sooners, where the Longhorns saw one collision and many near-collisions. Balls skimmed the gloves of the defense, allowing runners on base. And offensive production shows inconsistency, but when the production is there, the Longhorns see trouble rounding the bases. 

But it’s still early in conference play and the Longhorns have time to make some changes. 

“It’s about us,” Clark said. “Yeah, there’s another series, but it doesn’t matter who is wearing the other shirt. It’s about what we’re doing and how we’re playing, what our mental approach is like and how we’re executing.”