Texas splits early week doubleheader

Seth Forman

In its Tuesday night doubleheader against top-10 opponent Louisiana, Texas just couldn’t seem to get to home plate. The Longhorns split the games against the Ragin’ Cajuns, falling 3-2 and then winning 2-1 in the nightcap.

The first game was reminiscent of Saturday’s loss to Duke. As has become the standard, the Texas pitching dominated from the start. Senior pitcher Miranda Elish pitched her trademark complete game in the first game of the night, allowing only four hits and striking out six. But all Louisiana needed was one swing of the bat, with all three runs coming from a homer from junior designated player Bailey Curry.

“I think we’re just really aggressive,” sophomore pitcher Shealyn O’Leary said. “We always know where the ball will be, like what we’re going to do with the ball before we get it. It’s just having that initial intention and being prepared for whatever comes at us.”

The Longhorns’ bats, however, just couldn’t get going for sustained stretches. Texas was able to make frequent contact with the ball but couldn’t seem to hit it into open space.

“That’s what we call at ‘em balls,’” Texas head coach Mike White said. “There’s not much you can do. You just get up there and try and hit the ball hard, and we did. And unfortunately, we found a lot of gloves.”

Texas’ loss in a low-scoring affair mirrored the other close games they have played this season in their matchups against Duke, North Texas and Utah. Dominance on the mound was not backed by runs at the plate.

Against Duke, Blue Devil junior pitcher Peyton St. George only struck out one, and the Ragin’ Cajuns only threw four yet held Texas to two runs in the first game. In both matchups, Texas was able to consistently make solid contact that just didn’t seem to fall for hits. 

“You can’t really control who you hit it to,” senior outfielder Shannon Rhodes said. “Our process is to hit the ball hard … If you happen to hit it right at them hard, then hopefully the softball gods will reward you.”

In the second game of the night, the Longhorns again showcased the pitching that makes them a top-five team. Against the Ragin’ Cajuns’ batting lineup, O’Leary put together yet another great game inside the circle. She allowed only four hits and one run, which came from Curry’s second home run of the night.

However, the hitting struggles continued. Prior to their first loss of the season, the Horns averaged 9.8 runs per game. Despite escaping the second-lowest scoring total with a win, Texas still finished with only four runs on the night.

“We give (the players) a game plan,” White said. “Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But for the most part when we stick to our game plans, we do pretty well, so that’s what we’ve (got to) do.”

Texas now sits at 16–2, but Texas will need to find a way to generate more runs against top teams if it wants to continue its success through this coming week. 

The Longhorns will face three ranked opponents this weekend, including the No. 1 and 2 teams as ranked by the USA Today Coaches Poll.