Back-to-back wins push Texas Softball to 8–0

Nicholas Pannes

A complete game pitching performance and a home-run onslaught propelled No. 7 Texas Softball to two convincing victories over Connecticut and Ole Miss, ending the Lone Star State Invitational with a perfect 5–0 record.

The Longhorns opened the day by beating the Huskies 16-2 in their highest-scoring game of the year so far. The game was a widespread slugging contest for the Texas dugout as they notched 15 hits off the back of 12 different players. 

Freshman shortstop Alyssa Washington, junior utility player Lauren Burke and senior outfielder Shannon Rhodes combined for a relentless series of home runs in the second inning, each one choosing their own corner of the park to knock it out. Washington’s deep left-field shot marked her first career home run for the Longhorns. Combined, their scores garnered seven runs for the Longhorns.

Mary Iakopo, junior catcher and utility player, slammed her own three-run home run into the scoreboard the very next inning, marking her fourth consecutive game with a home run.

Head coach Mike White stressed the importance of seeing good performances from such a wide range of players.

“We talked about it all year — we’re gonna need you all, and I’m not afraid to make changes,” White said. “It gives them confidence that they’re gonna be ready and be in the game.” 

On the defensive side, freshman pitcher Ryleigh White stifled the Huskies’ offense, allowing only two earned runs and recording five strikeouts over 90 pitches.

Texas’ second matchup against Ole Miss was a much closer battle, but the Longhorns still managed to pull ahead to win it 5-2.

In an interesting turn of events, graduate transfer pitcher Molly Jacobsen faced off against her former team to secure the victory, pitching all seven innings of the contest.

“It was really hard (to play against Ole Miss),” Jacobsen said. “I had a lot of former friends on that team, but at the end of the day I just had to view (them) as any other team. I’m really grateful that my defense had my back.”

Despite her conflicted feelings, Jacobsen pitched well and showed great poise in high-stress situations. 

In the top of the third, Jacobsen engineered an escape from a bases-loaded, no-outs jam. She turned the tide with a 3-2 count strikeout, followed by a heads-up putout to sophomore catcher Colleen Sullivan off a short hit, then finished it off with a groundout from her fielding team.

Ole Miss held within two points through most of the game, but the Longhorns pulled ahead in the fifth inning thanks to two RBIs from freshman pinch hitter Courtney Day and junior infielder Janae Jefferson.

Overall, White attributed his team’s victories to his players’ cohesion and their holistically strong showing.

“We had good contributions,” White said. “Your players can make you look good or bad, and today they made me look pretty good with some of the moves I made … they came through.”