Texas softball honors head coach Mike White, takes two consecutive wins over Iowa State

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Emma Hutchinson, Sports Reporter

In two high-octane thrillers, Texas softball pulled off back-to-back wins in walk-off fashion against Iowa State on Friday and Saturday.

The team’s positive atmosphere and drive is a product of head coach Mike White, who was honored on Friday during their first game of the three-day battle against the Iowa State Cyclones. 

White has been the Longhorns’ head coach for the past five years, making a significant impact on the team’s performance. In his first three years, White accumulated a 113–34 overall record beginning in 2019, when he led the team to a 46–17 record — a 15-win improvement from 2018.

“It’s nice to be recognized and have fun with things,” White said in regards to Mike White-Out Night, which was the theme of Friday’s game. “Really, I just hope to leave the program in a better place than when I started.”   

White has also increased fan engagement and support in his time with the program. Red and Charline McCombs Field saw 1,379 attendees on Friday evening, all of whom were encouraged to wear white as part of the game’s “Mike White-Out” theme. McCombs Field hit a season high of 1,464 fans on Saturday — the second largest number in the program’s history. 

“Without a doubt, I think the noise last night was phenomenal, and today was the same kind of thing,” White said. “Our team feeds off it.”   

The Longhorns scraped out a win against the Cyclones 7-5 on Friday after being in a 5-4 deficit through the seventh inning. Senior catcher Mary Iakopo was the hero in the first game, blasting a walk-off three-run home run and bringing Texas the victory. Notable efforts from senior second baseman Janae Jefferson and junior designated player McKenzie Parker kept the energy alive, with each of them launching a double and Parker scoring four RBIs, the second most in a single game in her career. 

Returning to the field on Saturday, the Cyclones brought an intense fight, but the Longhorns fought harder, coming out on top 11-10 for the team’s 10th comeback win of the season. 

With seven lead changes across eight innings, neither team could put the game away. However, the Longhorns came out on top with a walk-off liner into right-center field from sophomore Bella Dayton.

“I think it’s the one thing that never dies. The Texas fight, that’s got to be our biggest strength,” White said. “We’re not out of this until it’s done.”

Dayton was instrumental in the team’s success, going 2–4 with a double, an RBI and a stolen base. Her clutch batting and savvy baserunning gave Texas the edge when the game was at its close.

“We have everybody’s back no matter the situation and we have confidence, so we’re always going to come back from the lows that we experience,” Dayton said. “We carry ourselves very well and we just believe in each other.” 

Texas will play their final game against Iowa State on Sunday, hoping to close out the weekend with another 3–0 sweep.