Texas softball shows fight, but can’t get over hump in Crimson Classic in 2–2 split

Pitcher+Sophia+Simpson+throws+the+first+pitch+of+the+inning.+Texas+played+McNeese+State+at+Red+%26+Charline+McCombs+Field+on+February+16%2C+2022.

Lorianne Willett/The Daily Texan

Pitcher Sophia Simpson throws the first pitch of the inning. Texas played McNeese State at Red & Charline McCombs Field on February 16, 2022.

Nick Hargroue, Sports Reporter

While Texas looked much improved against top competition this weekend in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the Longhorns couldn’t break their losing streak against top-ranked teams, going 2–2 in this weekend’s competition.

Texas kicked off the weekend Friday against No. 2 Alabama in one of its closest games of the season against the Crimson Tide. 

The Longhorns made several fielding errors in the first inning, allowing Alabama to score three runs and jump out to an early lead. However, unlike other outings this season, where the Longhorns allowed the opposition’s momentum to overwhelm them, the team managed to swing back with two runs of their own in the second inning.

Freshman pitcher Sophia Simpson also pitched well considering the opposition, limiting the high-octane Alabama offense to four earned runs. Simpson has faced some extremely tough competition early in her Texas career but answered every call up to this point. Simpson already has one no-hitter to her name and has kept games close against several Top 10 teams like Alabama and UCLA.

Despite the effort, Texas dropped the game 5-4 after a go-ahead home run by Alabama freshman Megan Bloodworth in the bottom of the sixth inning.

The Longhorns regained some confidence in their first game Saturday, winning 14-3 in a rout against Miami University in only five innings. Texas was led by sophomore Courtney Day and senior first baseman Mary Iakopo, who went a combined 5-for-6 at the plate with seven RBIs and four runs between the pair.

Texas got another chance to best unbeaten Alabama in its second game Saturday, yet the result remained the same, with a 3-1 loss.

Senior transfer pitcher Hailey Dolcini played a solid game, limiting the Crimson Tide to only three runs. However, Dolcini’s struggles with control plagued her throughout the game, allowing six walks in Saturday’s outing. This game was dominated by small ball tactics — the extra baserunners gave Alabama a key advantage in its victory.

The Longhorns ended the Crimson Classic by playing Miami University once more Sunday morning in a much closer matchup. Texas won 7-6, narrowly avoiding a RedHawks comeback in the top of the seventh inning.

Miami University jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. However, Texas put up a combined seven runs in the fourth and fifth innings to solidify its advantage in the game. This time around, it was sophomore infielder Alyssa Washington leading the charge with six RBIs for the Longhorns to put the RedHawks away. 

Despite losing two winnable games against the No. 2 team in the country, the Longhorns showed resilience over the weekend and looked more comfortable on the road.

In order to reach its full potential, Texas needs to cut down on the unforced errors and put together a complete game. If the Longhorns can pull it all together, their season goal of making it back to the Women’s College World Series remains in sight. 

Texas plays again this Wednesday in Denton against North Texas at 6 p.m.