Texas softball slips at St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational


Lorianne Willett/The Daily Texan

First baseman Mary Iakopo catches a ball thrown to her, trying to halt her opponents efforts of returning to first base. Texas played McNeese State at Red & Charline McCombs Field on February 16, 2022.

Emma Hutchinson, Sports Reporter

Coming off a successful game against McNeese State on Wednesday, the Longhorn softball team looked to continue its momentum into its second tournament of the season, where it would face off against four ranked opponents.

But the cards were not in Texas’ favor, with the team losing all five of the games it played at the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational hosted in Clearwater, Florida. 

Opening the weekend on Friday against No. 6 Florida State, key errors on Texas’ end led to a 9-2 loss against the Seminoles. Florida State took control in the first three innings with consecutive singles from various players. With an 8-0 deficit going into the fourth inning, Texas senior catcher Mary Iakopo launched her second home run of the season to put the Longhorns on the scoreboard.

Needing to score once more to avoid the run rule, Texas finished the fifth inning with a single from sophomore shortstop Alyssa Washington and an RBI single from freshman third baseman Mia Scott to advance the score to 9-2 before the Florida State pitchers retired the last six batters. 

In similar fashion, during the afternoon game against No. 25 Auburn, the Tigers took a 4-0 lead thanks to a walk and a single before freshman first baseman Bri Ellis hit a three-run home run. 

Texas made the game more competitive with a walk by Iakopo and a double by junior infielder McKenzie Parker, making the score 4-2. However, the Longhorns could not get things going again after the Tigers landed two more runs at the top of the sixth inning and an RBI single by Jessie Blaine. The contest ended in a 6-2 loss for Texas. 

Saturday brought a clean slate to the Longhorns as they faced No. 3 UCLA and No. 24 UCF, but the team still could not contain its opponents.

UCLA began the contest with a 2-0 lead coming from a double by Kinsley Washington and a home run from right fielder Aaliyah Jordan. Texas quickly picked up the pace with junior right fielder Lou Gilbert hitting her first RBI of the season on a single, bringing the score to 2-1. 

With the Longhorns unable to get the bats going, the game ended in a 2-1 victory for the Bruins. 

During the night game against UCF, Texas managed to take the lead early on through a leadoff walk from senior second baseman Janae Jefferson and RBIs from Iakopo and sophomore designated player Courtney Day.

The Longhorns stayed persistent in their fight for the lead, up 7-4 at the bottom of the third inning. Parker was a consistent source of energy for the team, upping the score to 9-6 with a two-run double to keep Texas in front. 

This success came crashing down in the sixth inning when the Knights worked up a seven-run streak of four singles and three walks. The game was retired with Texas at a 15-10 deficit. 

In their final game of the weekend, Texas took on unranked Notre Dame. The Irish popped out with the lead as third baseman Joley Mitchell struck a two-out RBI single, but the Longhorns looked hopeful as they drove in two runs with the bases loaded in the second inning.

The two opponents were tied at 2-2 during the third inning, but Notre Dame scored an additional seven runs, including a home run and two RBI singles from shortstop Brooke Marquez to bump its lead to 9-2, handing Texas another loss Sunday. 

Texas softball looks to recover from this turn of events Wednesday against the University of North Texas.