Longhorn softball run-rules UT-Arlington in nonconference tune-up

Jaclyn Helton

The Texas softball team finished off the Bevo Classic tournament on Sunday with a 9-1 run-rule victory against an overmatched University of Texas at Arlington squad, setting themselves in a comfortable position before conference play begins later this week.

The Longhorns squeaked by UT-Arlington on Saturday with a 2-1 victory, but on Sunday, the Texas offense proved far too powerful for the Mavericks from the opening pitch. Janae Jefferson, junior infielder and two-time All-American, set the tone for the Longhorns, starting off with a strong shot up the middle that landed her on base and allowed her teammates to bring her home.

Texas then jumped on the Mavericks in the bottom of the third, using a costly UT-Arlington error to grab four runs and extend their lead to 5-1.

The Longhorns constantly put the ball in play, forcing a normally sound UT-Arlington defense into mistakes, head coach Mike White said.

“Janae Jefferson helped for sure, leading off a couple of hits today,” White said. “I thought we took advantage of some of the mistakes they made. Typically they play some pretty tight defense, but we hit the ball hard on the ground, and that’s what (we’ve) got to do.”

Ten different Longhorns recorded a hit on Sunday, highlighting the deep roster Texas possesses. One of the most difficult parts of his job will be choosing which hitters to put in the lineup, White said.

“I want my job to be tough going into conference (play),” White said. “(And) it is right now with a lot of players hitting the ball well. I’ve got a lot of options, and I like that.”

The Texas defense also remained well-ordered and effective, giving up one run to the Mavericks. Graduate transfer pitcher Molly Jacobsen pitched the first five innings, with three strikeouts on five hits and one error. Jacobsen now boasts a 9–2 record this season. Coming on for relief for Jacobsen in the final inning, sophomore pitcher Shea O’Leary struck out the first two UT-Arlington batters in a 1-2-3 inning.

The Longhorns will carry a 24–3 overall record into their first conference series of the season against Texas Tech, which starts on Thursday. The Texas offense will have their work cut out for them against Tech’s formidable pitching rotation.

“We’ll have to look at the matchup on the pitching,” White said. “The two returning pitchers from last year … they are both pretty crafty.”

White hinted that the lineup would not have many surprises come Thursday.

“We have two days to practice — it’s going to be Tuesday (and) Wednesday practice for a three-day series,” White said. “We’ll see what happens, but you (will) probably see the same regular lineup.”