Longhorns in disarray during run-rule loss to No. 1 Oklahoma

Nicholas Pannes

Texas’ game against Oklahoma was almost over as soon as it began.

The No. 7 Longhorns’ 11-1 loss to the Sooners on Friday opened with three straight Texas strikeouts and a pair of back-to-back Oklahoma home runs in the first inning.

Oklahoma went on to dominate the rest of the game from both sides of the ball.

Sophomore star pitcher Shea O’Leary was pulled after just one inning of play in which she surrendered two home runs, five hits and hit three batters. After the Sooners’ back-to-back home runs, erroneous positioning by redshirt junior utility player Taylor Ellsworth left the right field wide open for an Oklahoma RBI triple.

The Longhorns let their follies in the first inning plague them through the next four after being driven into an early rut.

For a brief moment in the second and third innings, it appeared that Texas found a glimmer of hope. Freshman pitcher Ryleigh White managed to stem Texas’ bleeding for a bit, keeping the Sooners scoreless throughout the second inning. And a lone home run in the top of the third inning from freshman utility player Brianna Cantu gave the Longhorns a chance to claw their way back into the competition.

But just as soon as Texas’ opportunity arrived, it disappeared. Another two hits by pitch, a wild pitch and a crucial fielding error delivered the Sooners a commanding 7-1 lead on a silver platter.

By the bottom of the fifth inning, a deflated Texas fielding crew looked up as Oklahoma sophomore infielder Mackenzie Donihoo sailed a three-run walk-off home run over the wall and into the stands.

The Longhorns’ power-hitting prowess was completely absent in the face of Oklahoma’s redshirt senior left-handed pitcher Giselle Juarez, who struck out four Longhorns and allowed a mere three hits. The usually stalwart Texas fielding team capitulated to the Sooners’ offensive onslaught, failing to convert blooper base hits into easy outs and committing three errors.

But Texas’ worst and most surprising offender was its pitching crew. The five-player dugout has been one of the brightest spots on this team so far in the season, with three different pitchers averaging a sub-2.0 ERA on the season. But today, O’Leary and White allowed a combined 12 hits, six hits by pitch, 11 runs and only earned one strikeout the entire game, failing to live up to head coach Mike White’s lofty expectations.

Texas’ 11-1 loss was by far the biggest of the season, snapping a 14-game winning streak and delivering the Longhorns their first loss in conference play.

It was also the team’s second multipoint loss since the end of the 2019 season, and it marked the first defeat in 22 starts for O’Leary, who posted a perfect 15-0 record and recorded seven solo shutouts in those prior games.