Comeback victory helps extend win streak for Longhorns softball

Marcus Krum and Sydney Tasman

Stepping up to the plate in the sixth inning, Bekah Alcozer needed to make something happen.

With the bases loaded and Texas desperately needing some timely hitting after falling to 2-0 with Ole Miss, Alcozer and infielder Shannon Rhodes delivered.

Alcozer stroked a double into left field, driving home two runs as the Longhorns would go on to win 3-2 in a comeback effort.

“I was just trying to have a quality at-bat (and) put something on the ground so we can get that run across the plate,” Alcozer said. “I was excited. To see how excited my teammates were too — it was really nice.”

The rally began after second baseman Janae Jefferson’s leadoff-bunt single started the inning with a baserunner, a key play after the Longhorns bats showing little life in the first five frames. Catcher Mary Iakopo then drew a one-out walk, and infielder Lauren Burke singled to load the bases and extend the rally.

“It’s good because it keeps giving you that belief that you can do it,” Texas head coach Mike White said. “We made some good adjustments at the plate in the fifth and the sixth (innings). To come through — Bekah with the big double — was huge for us.”

After Alcozer’s hit sent two runners home, Rhodes knocked a single to left to cap off the rally and give Texas its first lead of the day. The late-game comeback was also furthered by Shea O’Leary, who came into the game to pitch the fifth inning for Brooke Bolinger and threw three shutout innings.

But O’Leary didn’t stop there. She remained on the mound for the second game of the day in a matchup against Tulsa, where she threw five additional shutout innings en route to the 2-0 victory over the Golden Hurricane. In both appearances combined, the freshman threw 90 pitches in nine innings of work.

“In the past year, I’m definitely not used to it at all,” O’Leary said of the large workload. “Trying to get back into that has been hard, but it’s been good … It was all an adrenaline rush, just going out and having fun.”

O’Leary has been masterful in the early goings of her collegiate career. In five appearances, she is 5–0 with a 0.29 ERA and leads the team in WHIP.

Her excellent outings on the mound during her two appearances Saturday cemented her spot in the rotation for the time being.

“She’s moved up into the No. 2 spot on the staff,” White said. “The ceiling is high for her. I like what she’s doing. I like that she’s not getting caught up in the moment, and she’s making some good pitches.”

The early-season hot streak will look to continue Sunday as the Longhorns will again take on Ole Miss after the late-game magic saved the day for Texas. With the Longhorns’ record now at 11–1, the confidence of this team has no limits.

“We’re at an all-time high right now,” O’Leary said. “I know I just go out there with so much confidence right now knowing I have such a great offense and defense behind me.”