No. 9/11 Texas defeats North Texas behind Leighann Goode’s 2-run home run, 4-2

Tori Garcia, General Sports Reporter

No. 9/11 softball defeated North Texas 4-2 on Wednesday at Red & Charline McCombs Field with a change of momentum in the third inning that caused the Longhorns to grasp the win.

Before Wednesday’s matchup, the Longhorns had the highest batting average at .397 before Oklahoma State, holding a .394 batting average and a .382 average from Oklahoma.

Helping bolster the batting average and one of the most notable and consistent players for Texas this season has been freshman second baseman and shortstop Leighann Goode.  Entering Wednesday’s game against North Texas, Goode was considered the second toughest hitter in the Big 12 Conference and was ranked No. 11 in most difficult to strike out in all of Division I softball. Goode continued to prove her ongoing dominance once more with a .510 hitting percentage after the matchup against the Eagles.

“She’s just a gamer,” Texas head coach Mike White said. “Practice time is when the lights turn on and who turns up, and Leighann turns up and plays and gives everything she has and she’s doing it well, not only in the field, but at bat.”

Junior left-handed pitcher Estelle Czech took the mound as the Longhorn’s starting pitcher on Wednesday with a 3–1 record before the game. However, Czech gave up a solo home run to North Texas’ junior infielder Kailey Gamble in the top of the second inning, allowing the Eagles to take an early 1-0 lead over the Longhorns.  

After two scoreless innings for Texas, a change in momentum occurred in the third inning with a total of four runs scored, including a two-run home run by Goode that seemed to change the trajectory of the game.

“I think we needed to keep our composure in the situation and make the pitches. … We did and we were able to get it back,” White said. “Leighann Goode came out and continued to show that she is not playing like a freshman right now. She had a phenomenal at bat to be able to get us back in the game again.”

The Longhorns consistently held a three-run lead until sophomore right-handed pitcher Mac Morgan relieved Czech in the top of the sixth inning and gave up a solo home run to redshirt freshman Tatum Sparks of the Eagles.  

With two runners left on base in the top of the seventh inning and a full count, the Eagles hit a ground ball, and with an out at first base, the Longhorns took the game 4-2.  

Texas will start its Longhorn Invitational tournament on Friday against Tennessee State in Austin at McCombs Field at 4:30 p.m. White mentioned the improvements the Longhorns need to make before the tournament on Friday.

“We have to defend,” White said. “We have to get our pitches to come in, in closing situations, and not give up those long balls that we are doing right now.”