No. 13 softball topples Lamar 8-2 in home opener


Alisha Dulaney

Freshman right-handed Citlaly Gutierrez throws a pitch at home opener against Lamar University on Feb. 15, 2023.

Tori Garcia, General Sports Reporter

No. 13 Texas softball defeated Lamar 8-2 in its home opener on Wednesday with solid performances from its freshman newcomers.

The Longhorns advanced their all-time winning record against Lamar to 6–1 and have now won the last four matchups. Head coach Amy Hooks, former All-American and Big 12 Player of the Year who contributed to Texas softball success from 2008-2011, led the Cardinals. 

One of the Longhorns’ goals this season is to fill the shoes of former Texas graduate seniors and leaders. The newcomers’ chemistry will be critical for Texas to be a contender for the national championship this season.  

“Obviously we have to replace a lot of pieces, but we have seven newcomers with five freshmen and two transfers in Baylea Brandon and Mac Morgan,” head coach Mike White said on Feb 6. “So it’s going to be a question of how quickly the team can come together and who is going to be the leaders on the squad this year. But we are excited about this group of newcomers and looking forward to getting going.”

The first-year students were impressive at the plate and on the mound. Freshman right-handed pitcher Citlaly Gutierrez relieved sophomore right-handed pitcher Sophia Simpson in the fourth inning and held the Cardinals to two runs, allowing one double. Freshman shortstop/second baseman Leighann Goode ended the game with a .500 hitting percentage and claimed a five-game hit streak.

Simpson made her first start of her sophomore campaign and pitched 3.2 innings and maintained consistency, which wore off in the top of the fourth inning. Simpson left the mound with five strikeouts and two runs for Lamar.

The Longhorns took an early lead in the first inning with a two-run home run from junior first baseman Courtney Day, marking the 20th home run of her career. Texas maintained its lead throughout the entire matchup. While the Cardinals made contact at the plate, they struggled with timing that left some runners on base.  

But holding onto leads was not Texas’ strong suit coming out of the NFC Division I Leadoff Classic, so the Longhorns needed to focus on consistency.

“Whenever you’re going to fail in softball, because that’s going to happen from time to time, you must keep your head up and keep battling while keeping in mind that everything is independent of each other and don’t let there be a domino effect,” junior infielder Alyssa Washington said on Feb 6.

Redshirt freshman outfielder Ashton Maloney stole home in the bottom of the fourth inning and gave Texas a 5-2 cushion to help seal the victory. Texas’ patience at the plate along with the Cardinals’ struggle to get runners on base toward the final innings ultimately led the Longhorns to take their 25th home opener win.

The Longhorns remain in Austin this weekend as they compete in the Texas Classic, kicking off their tournament against Loyola Chicago on Friday at Red & Charline McCombs Field.