Texas softball falls short against a dominant pitching performance from Oklahoma’s Bahl

Nick Hargroue, Sports Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the April 15, 2022 flipbook.

No love is lost in matchups between Texas and Oklahoma, and Thursday’s battle was no exception. In a game that had been sold out for weeks and had the second-largest attendance of all time for No. 13 Texas softball, No. 1 Oklahoma won game one in a close affair by a margin of 3-0.

Oklahoma jumped out to an early lead in Thursday’s game at Red & Charline McCombs Field, scoring one run in each of the first two innings. An error by freshman infielder Mia Scott at the start of the game allowed the Sooners a free baserunner, eventually leading to the first run of the ballgame. 

As a team, the Longhorns made four errors in the game, allowing extra opportunities for Oklahoma too often to be successful. Head coach Mike White was adamant that the team must avoid these mistakes to beat the Sooners.

“They don’t call it the ‘hot corner’ for nothing; we’re getting surprised by some hot shots that we should be able to make, and we’ve seen (Mia) make those plays,” White said. “Obviously she didn’t want to get out of the bed and make any mistakes, so I mean it is one of those deals that hopefully she learns from.”

Texas did its best to put runs on the board against Oklahoma; however, a star performance by freshman pitcher Jordy Bahl kept the Longhorns off-balance. Her mastery of the rise ball had hitters whiffing all night, ending the game with 15 strikeouts and only allowing four hits on the night. Bahl’s swagger was palpable, as she easily handled the majority of the Texas lineup from the first pitch.

“We had a certain game plan, but when a kid’s got three nasty pitches out there, it’s hard to sit on one pitch,” White said. “A lot of pitchers we face you can kind of eliminate a pitch, but you know she moves around as good as anybody and was able to pull the strings when she needs it.”

Texas kept this game close due to a stellar performance from graduate transfer pitcher Hailey Dolcini, who was also recently named a finalist for the Senior CLASS award for her excellence on and off the field. Dolcini had a tough start in her first Red River Showdown, allowing Oklahoma to take a multi-run lead in the first two innings. However, she gained more and more confidence against the Sooner lineup as the sun began to set at Red & Charline McCombs Field.

“I think she was fantastic, you know, she was dialed in,” White said. “Just a couple of mistakes here and there that came back to haunt us a little bit.”

Dolcini finished the game with three hits, two earned runs given up and four strikeouts, an admirable effort against a team that averages nearly 10 runs a game and routinely blows other teams out of the water. Thursday’s performance wasn’t a winning result, but the team showed their ability to stick in a ballgame with one of the most dominant teams in collegiate softball history. 

Texas goes to battle once again against Oklahoma on Friday at 6 p.m., hoping to pull off the improbable versus the still-unbeaten Sooners.