No. 13 softball remains undefeated in Texas Classic, Leighann Goode makes Texas softball history

Tori Garcia, General Sports Reporter

On the second day of the Texas Classic, the No. 13 Longhorns remained undefeated in the tournament and overcame both Omaha and Loyola Chicago for the second time in two days on Saturday at Red & Charline McCombs Field.

The Longhorns faced both Omaha and Loyola on the first day of the Texas Classic and scored a dominant 18 runs between both games, ultimately leading the Longhorns to their Friday 2–0.  

On Saturday, junior left-handed pitcher Estelle Czech started on the mound against the Mavericks. Prior to Saturday’s game, Czech had only allowed one earned run within the last 15 innings she played. However, her performance was inconsistent with elevated curveballs, allowing Omaha to grab an early 1-0 lead against Texas in the first inning.

“The inconsistencies — We’re just getting the ball up in the zone a little bit, we’re not really locating where we should be and we’re paying the price,” head coach Mike White said to Longhorn Network.

The fourth inning was game-changing for the Longhorns. Following Czech’s two strikeouts in the inning, Texas managed to place five runs on the board with a contagious hitting streak. This gave the Longhorns enough momentum to close the game in their favor in the bottom of the fifth inning with their first run rule win of the season, 9-1.

Later in the day, sophomore right-handed pitcher Sophia Simpson started against Loyola. Simpson has often struggled with overthinking her mechanics following her postseason play in the 2022 season. Simpson’s uncertainty on the mound allowed Loyola’s hitters to get ahead on the count and predict the upcoming pitches. The Wolves grasped the lead early and gained two runs in the first inning.  

In the bottom of the third inning, freshman middle infielder Leighann Goode made Texas softball history. Goode became the first Texas freshman to record a hit in the first nine games of her collegiate career. She passed former Texas infielder Janae Jefferson, who played with the Longhorns from 2018 to 2022 and was credited with a hit in her first eight games of her college debut.  

Jefferson, the former National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American, made her way back to Red & Charline McCombs Field on Saturday and threw the ceremonial first pitch before the Longhorns’ first game of the day against Omaha.  

One of the lingering questions the Longhorns will face this season is who will step up to the plate after the seniors graduate. White stated it would be the women who lead the team in crucial moments.

“Performance when the lights turn on … you know, who’s going to step up in those key moments?” White said on Feb 6. “There’s always key moments … It’s the tough moments that create opportunities for people.”

That leader against Loyola was junior pinch hitter Jordyn Whitaker, who hit a double in the fifth inning that allowed two runs to score, breaking the 4-4 tie and giving the Longhorns a 6-4 lead. Ultimately, the Longhorns won their second game of the day 6-5.

Texas will face the Incarnate Word Cardinals on Sunday at Red & Charline McCombs Field to close out the Texas Classic tournament.