Texas Softball hangs on to win first game in series against New Mexico

Nicholas Pannes

After a disappointing loss against No. 15 Louisiana-Lafayette the day prior, the No. 10-ranked Texas softball managed to edge out the New Mexico Lobos 5-3 on Friday.

The Lobos, who have one win after 20 games played on the season, nearly managed a huge upset. After yielding two runs to New Mexico in the first inning, the Longhorns turned to a new face in the bottom of the fourth to lead a rally.

Freshman utility player Brianna Cantu came through for Texas with some major contributions on the day. She started by digging her team out of a scoring rut with a perfectly placed bunt, tying the contest at 2-2. 

The trust that head coach Mike White placed in her to lay down a clutch bunt gave her the confidence to deliver, Cantu said.

“At first, you know, I hesitated. But at the end of the day I know (head coach Mike White) trusts me,” Cantu said. “I knew how to take advantage and do my job, and luckily my (teammates) had my back there.”

The Longhorns managed to capitalize off the momentum, scoring in every inning thereafter. Perhaps no one felt hotter than Cantu herself, who capped off her night with a solid two-run home run towards left field in the bottom of the sixth.

“I just come out here and do the best I can for my team,” Cantu said in her interview. “I take advantage of every opportunity I’m given.”

Cantu’s energizing at-bats were complemented by a RBI single from sophomore shortstop McKenzie Parker and a deep home run from sophomore catcher Colleen Sullivan. Sullivan has been on fire at the plate this season, batting .485 over her past 13 games.

After a woeful defensive first inning in which freshman pitcher Ryleigh White walked her first three batters faced, the Longhorns settled into the game and tightened up in the field. Freshman pitcher Courtney Day came in with a strong relief performance for White. Disregarding the two runs which resulted from the three runners-on-base White let on, Day kept the Lobos scoreless throughout five innings.

Day was aided by a set of nice plays from Texas’s fielding, including a soaring highlight catch from freshman infielder Camille Corona.

The Longhorns look to close out their series against the Lobos with a double-header tomorrow afternoon. In spite of yesterday’s disappointing loss to the Ragin’ Cajuns, this close win could serve as good momentum for Texas’s upcoming schedule.

Texas responded well to a set back, but Cantu said they won’t hang their hats on Friday’s win.

“We took the loss, but at the end of the day we (moved) on,” Cantu said. “It’s a new day … we have two more tough games tomorrow and (I’m) ready to come back out.”