Midweek game presents Longhorns an opportunity to bounce back

Robert Larkin

A quick glance at the Longhorns’ record (6–8) suggests they’re a mediocre ball club. A closer look reveals a more ominous picture. 

Through 14 games this season, the Longhorns place last and second-to-last in team hitting and pitching, respectively, in the Big 12. Texas also sits last in the conference in terms of overall record.

 It’s been a difficult start to the season, but head coach Connie Clark still believes her team can still improve and find success as the season continues to press on.

“If I focused just on paper, I wouldn’t be happy,” Clark said. “We have to keep trying to get help from our players and get production, and I think we’ll do that.”

After a disappointing 2–3 finish at the Texas Invitational this past weekend, the Longhorns will try to right the ship Wednesday night when they host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (5–10).

One problem the Longhorns have to address during their midweek game is their struggles at the plate. Texas hitters have combined to hit only .245, scoring 40 runs to their opponents’ 56.

“When you step in the (batter’s) box, you have to let things go,” sophomore catcher Taylor Ellsworth said. “You can’t think about (whether) you hit a home run or struck out — you just have to come back with your next at-bat.”

Luckily for the Longhorns’ hitters, Texas faces a Texas A&M-Corpus Christi team that has sacrificed 69 total runs on the season, presenting a perfect opportunity for the offense to gain back its confidence.

The Wednesday night showdown also provides a chance for the Longhorns to try to find more consistency in the pitcher’s circle. Outside of senior pitcher Paige von Sprecken, whose 1.76 ERA ranks sixth in the Big 12, the Texas pitching staff has largely struggled.

“I think we’re seeing some stuff with our pitching staff, and some aces are emerging,” Clark said. “We’re finding the experience and putting some people into the fire, but that’s what the early season is about.” 

The Longhorns’ pitchers meet a Texas A&M-Corpus Christi team that has combined to hit a measly .233 batting average as a team. The Islanders have only driven in 34 runs in their 15 games. 

With a chance to move one game below .500 before a three-game homestand with No. 9 Arizona, Clark and the Longhorns know they need to capitalize on a winnable home game to gain a much-needed boost. 

“(Softball) is such a game of momentum,” Clark said. “More than anything, we need to just look at getting the momentum and pulling it back on our side as quickly as we possibly can.”

First pitch against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday at McCombs Field.