Longhorns look to hurdle Houston before taking time off

Sydney Tasman

Texas will see Houston at Red & Charline McCombs Field on Wednesday night before its first weekend off since the season opened in early February.

The No. 6 Longhorns have played the fifth-toughest schedule in the nation this season, and although Houston’s ranking may not be as high, the Cougars are still expected to serve as tough competition. 

“(Houston’s) a really good team, and we have to be on top of our game, but then we can really take a little bit of rest and work on some things that we need to work on,” Texas head coach Mike White said after last weekend’s series against Texas Tech. “We need a little better pitch selection and defense.” 

The Cougars have an away record of 7–5 and an overall record of 26–14. Texas dropped just two home games this season, leaving the Longhorns with 20 wins at McCombs Field so far. 

The Longhorns went 2–1 in their series against the Red Raiders last weekend, and it’s no surprise the pitching staff was essential to the series victory. 

Earlier this week, pitcher Miranda Elish was named the Big 12 Conference’s Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season. The transfer from Oregon isn’t the only pitcher receiving accolades for Texas, though. Pitcher Shea O’Leary is currently ranked second in ERA in all of Division I at 0.52. O’Leary isn’t known to give out walks easily, allowing just 10 walks in 80 innings of play.

Although the players in the circle have shined brightly for Texas this year, the Longhorns are more than equipped with their offensive unit. The Texas offense generates an average of 8.1 hits per game and has out-hit 35 of 43 opponents this year. Second baseman Janae Jefferson has particularly excelled in this area, hitting an outstanding .435 at the plate. 

Meanwhile, Jefferson has become a member of the “100 Career-Hit-Club” this season, adding a team-high of 57 hits for a career total of 131. Joining her in this club, as well, are first baseman Kaitlyn Washington (113 hits) and outfielder Reagan Hathaway (105 hits).

The upcoming weekend break will come before the Longhorns return to the field next Tuesday for a matchup against UT-Arlington.

After stringing together wins in four of its last five games, Texas is looking to ride the momentum out for the rest of the season. 

“It’s kind of more of a catch-22,” White said. “Do you really want to take a break, or just keep going? But we are looking forward to the break.”