Texas breezes by Iowa State to sweep series, remains perfect in conference play

Nicholas Pannes

The Texas softball team improved their overall record to 31–3 and remained undefeated in Big 12 conference play this season with a 10-0 win against Iowa State on Sunday.

Sophomore pitcher Shea O’Leary’s six strikeouts, combined with a ruthless display of power hitting by the Longhorns’ offense, earned the Longhorns a six-inning run-rule victory. O’Leary’s dominance on the mound was a relief for Texas after the sophomore struggled Friday night against the Cyclones. Her ability to bounce back from a shaky blip of an outing in an otherwise dominant season was encouraging, head coach Mike White said.

“I thought it was just a great bounce back by Shea O’Leary,” White said. “She gave up six walks (and two home runs) the other day, getting hit pretty hard. Today, she was just masterful. Really, really great job … I’m encouraged by that for sure.”

O’Leary now has an impressive 82 strikeouts in 83.1 total innings pitched this year.

Junior Mary Iakopo and sophomore Colleen Sullivan led the way for a Texas offense that saw seven different players put up a total of 11 hits, which included three home runs and five doubles. The pair each put up three hits and helped wear down a deflated Iowa State bullpen.

Texas now has recorded multiple home runs in a single contest in 17 different games this year. The power the Longhorns have displayed over the season has forced White to change his base-running strategy.

“It really is (great). Those extra bases … I mean, you gotta have people to drive runs in, and we’ve been able to do that,” White said. “I’m almost reluctant to (have people) steal bases because we’re hitting so many home runs. In fact, that happened today — we had a steal and then we hit a home run (right after).”

Texas is now 6–0 in conference play for just the sixth time in program history, but the Longhorns have a challenging schedule ahead of them. Three of Texas’ next four conference series come against top-ranked teams, including a daunting set of away games next week against No. 1 Oklahoma. Despite the odds, White is confident going into the series against the team’s archrival.

“Well, obviously, Oklahoma’s in a class of their own right now (as the) No. 1 (team) in the country,” White said. “But I think if we play our game this is gonna be a very good series, and I’m hoping we can surprise them.”