Longhorns struggle to find identity amidst inconsistency

Leah Vann

Texas softball has remained consistently inconsistent when it comes to wins.

With 52 regular season games, and the Big 12 not starting until late March, it seemed like Texas had a while to cement its identity. But as the Big 12 and non-conference losses pile up, hopes of a conference or national title are looking less-likely. 

What has remained consistent, is the problem of timely hits. With a new batting coach in the cages, Texas felt like they had a recipe for a dominant offense. But they lost 10 of their games by one run, which is more than just bad luck. Competition in the Big 12 is tough with the reigning national champion on the schedule, but the Longhorns struggled to adjust. 

Now that Texas is on a four-game winning streak, the Longhorns are looking at the positives. 

“At times you go ‘Yeah, absolutely, their lights have gone,’ but other times I’m like ‘yep it hasn’t,’ head coach Connie Clark said. “I think the momentum and the confidence is something we get a little bit and we struggle, so to be able to get several consecutive wins and get on a bit of a win streak should serve us very well.”

The bullpen has remained dominant. Texas boasts five pitchers, including lefties senior Tiarra Davis and sophomore transfer Brooke Bolinger, boasting 2.18 and 2.02 season ERAs respectively. Davis is drawing closer to a school record of 500 career strikeouts, with 488 to date and a season-high of nine in a single game at Kansas. In addition, junior Erica Wright emerged as one of the top pitchers on staff after a year off, tossing four one-hitters and maintaining a season 1.92 ERA. 

And while seniority is the highest it has been in 12 years, the freshmen have been making the greatest strides. Freshman catcher Taylor Ellsworth has maintained a .416 batting average, one of the top averages on the team. As the season progressed, Kaitlyn Slack claimed the starting second baseman position while Tuesday Dermargosian and Kaitlyn Washington fired up the bats and took positions in the outfield. 

Texas still has a three-game series against Baylor and the Big 12 tournament left. That’s time left to determine their identity.

“It’s all right there for the taking,” Clark said. “You can get on a roll late and you can still end up being one of the best teams in the country at the end.”