Mary Iakopo’s home run at the bottom of the third inning foreshadowed the way Texas would seal the deal in a 10-0 run-rule victory over Texas State on Wednesday.
“It feels good to be back home,” Iakopo said. “All I’m seeing is the ball, and I wanted to just hit a gap for (center fielder) Reagan (Hathaway) to score. (I had) no intention on doing what I did in that last inning.”
The sophomore catcher currently leads the Longhorns in home runs, and it seems she wasn’t ready to relinquish that title any time soon.
Designated player Miranda Elish began the scoring for the Longhorns with a two-run home run of her own to make the score 2-0. Not long after, Iakopo hit her first home run of the game allowing her a solo lap around the diamond.
“I think on a little cooler night, the ball tends to fly a little bit better. We took advantage of it but you still gotta hit them, and it was good to get them,” Texas head coach Mike White said.
Iakopo doesn’t just hit them out of the park, though. She is also a solid force on defense, serving as the Longhorns’ catcher for all six innings against the Bobcats.
“You’d love to try and give her a rest, but we’re not able now that we’re in conference,” White said. “It’s very tough to find an opportunity to do that, but she’s hanging in there, and she doesn’t complain. She just gets up and does her job.”
The major advantage the Longhorns had Wednesday was a hot start to the game, which propelled them to make fast plays and smart decisions.
“Obviously I thought it was (pitcher) Shea (O’Leary) coming out of that first inning,” White said of the Longhorns’ early momentum. “I think there was three-up, three-down for four innings in a row, and that’s a real solid start for us. It was mixing speeds and hitting our corners.”
The right-handed pitcher, who held a 0.59 ERA heading into Wednesday’s competition against the Bobcats, once again made a statement from the circle. She allowed just two hits and retired the first 12 Bobcats, lowering her ERA to 0.55.
“That’s what I wanted to see,” White said of the O’Leary. “You know sometimes … you just have that big let down, and you just don’t have the same kind of focus, but tonight that’s what I wanted to see from her. I wanted to see a solid performance and get her back to throwing to her locations.”
The Longhorns will continue their Big 12 play this weekend in an away series against Texas Tech. After losing two games to Oklahoma State last weekend, the 10-0 victory was what the Texas needed to gain confidence going forward, according to Iakopo.
“It’s a good win going into another away weekend,” Iakopo said. “But I think it’s a good win for the pitchers to have 10 runs of insurance behind them.”