Undefeated Texas opens up homestand against North Texas

Carter Yates

Texas, who just moved up to No. 4 in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Coaches Poll, is looking to continue its red-hot start to the season. Sitting at 10–0, the Longhorns are just three games away from picking up the longest winning streak to start the season since 2013.

“We’re just playing for each other now,” senior pitcher Miranda Elish said. “I think we are very grounded and ready to take on our next challenge.”

Part of Texas’s dominance has stemmed from the production throughout the entire lineup. The Longhorns knew going into the season that they could lean on Elish and junior second baseman Janae Jefferson, who have responded to the tune of .563 and .517 batting averages, respectively. The early season tournaments, however, have shown that Texas has a deep and talented team beyond their big stars.

Senior shortstop Kaitlyn Slack was dynamic offensively in Puerto Vallarta, batting for a .714 average and hitting the solo home run that triggered Texas’ come-from-behind victory against Utah. Slack has blossomed into a key playmaker this year after a junior campaign that saw her bat .222  while serving as a part-time starter.

Sophomore catcher Colleen Sullivan batted .455  over the weekend and hit the walk-off double in that same win over Utah that preserved the Longhorns’ undefeated record. Both players were named to the All-Tournament Team in Mexico.

“It’s kinda fun,” Texas head coach Mike White said. “It gives us a lot of options … I think we emptied the bench (in Mexico).”

Before playing in the Texas Invitational tournament in Austin this weekend, the Longhorns will face off against North Texas on Wednesday. Up to this point, the Mean Green have backed up their surprising 2019 campaign that saw them finish with a 35–19 record. The in-state foes out of Conference USA are sitting at 8–1 on the season. While North Texas has indeed gotten off to a hot start of their own, they have yet to play a Top-25 team.

This contest marks the first of a seven game homestand for the Longhorns. After spending last weekend in Mexico, Red and Charline McCombs Field will provide a return to reality for a team that competed outside of the country for only the second time in program history. Texas has been nearly unstoppable at home this season. In the six games they have played in Austin, they are averaging 13 runs per game.

Dominating at home is far from a new phenomenon under the Mike White led Longhorns. Last year, White’s first season with Texas, the Longhorns went 27-6 at home compared to only 12-7 on the road. The Longhorns will look to continue this trend as they square off against the Mean Green on Wednesday and then kick off the Texas Invitational on Friday morning.

“I believe in all these players,” White said. “I feel like we have a really good squad.”