No. 7 Texas softball fails to find traction in double-header loss

Nicholas Pannes

After going perfect through their first 10 games in the season, Texas softball’s first losses came in back-to-back games on Saturday against No. 13 LSU.

The Tigers proved a tough opponent for the Longhorns, winning off the back of some stellar pitching by junior Shelbi Sunseri and sophomore Ali Kilponen. LSU’s performance at the diamond held the high-slugging Longhorns to a measly three runs in the doubleheader. 

Texas was able to handle the Tigers 8–5 in their first matchup of the three-game series Friday before falling 2–1 and 7–2 in its two games Saturday. 

Texas was unable to overcome LSU's pitching starpower and strong bullpen the way it handled Texas State and Ole Miss’ earlier in the season, largely thanks to LSU’s home-field advantage. The Longhorns have hosted nearly every game they’ve played thus far, although they dismantled Houston 9–0 earlier this week in their first road game of the season.

The Longhorns also played in front of the largest crowd they had seen in nearly a year, even at the limited-capacity Tiger Park, but were unable to find their footing after a delay pushed one inning of their Friday game to early Saturday afternoon.

The first contest was tied at 5–5 after six innings before it was resumed at the top of the seventh, when the Longhorns pulled away after an two-run RBI single from designated player Taylor Ellsworth. Texas held on to win the contest 8–5, holding the Tigers scoreless in the seventh.

But Texas fell short in its two full-length matchups with the Tigers. The first contest in the double-header was a game of inches, with the Tigers squeaking out a 2–1 victory behind a critical Longhorn fielding error.

The second game wasn’t close. Strong LSU hitting put the Tigers up 5–0 by the second inning. Texas wouldn’t put runs on the board until the top of the sixth.

LSU only managed to outhit the Longhorns 8–7, but they outscored Texas 7–2. The Texas bullpen scrambled to find a star to keep things close, but three pitchers and three home runs took the Longhorns out of the contest early.

Texas star sophomore pitcher Shea O’Leary did not appear in either of the two games Saturday. She was pulled from Friday night’s game after giving up three runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Texas hosts Texas A&M Corpus Christi at Red & Charline McCombs Field Wednesday.