Texas softball rallies in seventh inning to buck Cowgirls 5-2

Jaclyn Helton

The Texas softball team found themselves in a stalemate with McNeese State until the top of the seventh inning, where they managed a major comeback to pick up a 5-2 win.
“We knew it was going to be a tough (game) coming in to play,” head coach Mike White said. “We got down early and made a couple of mistakes.”
The Texas offense opened the game lacking its typical zeal. The Longhorns were unable to capitalize on a first-inning scoring opportunity when two runners got caught in a rundown after a failed double-steal.

After the game, White admitted the team made a handful of base-running mistakes.
The Longhorn defense also entered the game without their usual tenacity. Sophomore pitcher Shea O’Leary attempted to lead the team from the pitching circle but found the Cowgirl offense to be a competitive match at the plate.
“They have a couple of kids who can really rake the ball,” White said.
The game remained scoreless until the third inning, as Texas was unable to strike more than a dribbler off the bat, a stark contrast to its 32 home runs on the season. The Longhorn sluggers were unable to find their rhythm against the Cowgirl pitchers.
“They have a deep pitching staff,” White said.

The third inning proved a new challenge for the team as McNeese State was able to find a rhythm and manage two runs, taking a 2-0 lead. 

But the swift offensive strike woke the Longhorns into action.

In the fourth inning, junior utility player Lauren Burke nailed a single to left field, allowing senior outfielder Shannon Rhodes to score and finally break Texas’ scoring drought.
The fifth and sixth innings remained just as deadlocked as the first three, with the Longhorns and Cowgirls unable to add any runs. Texas worked to gain defensive momentum within the bottom of the fifth by sending senior Molly Jacobsen on the mound. She struck out the side and finished the night with six strikeouts.
“Molly came in and threw a gem for us,” White said.
With a loss looming for the Longhorns as they headed into the seventh inning, the offense was able to find its groove. Senior outfielder Shannon Rhodes blasted a single, sending senior infielder Kaitlyn Washington and freshman infielder Camille Corona, sophomore infielder McKenzie Parkers’ pinch runner, to the plate to take a 3-2 lead.

Following her lead, sophomore catcher Colleen Sullivan hit another single, making way for Rhodes and junior infielder Janae Jefferson to score as well. The Longhorns closed out the top of the seventh, leading the Cowgirls 5-2.

“Our ability to come back builds confidence,” White said.