Texas softball team blanks Texas State Bobcats 6-0 in NCAA Austin Regional
Let other softball teams slog through elimination games deep into Saturday night.
The Longhorns could sit back, put their feet up and relax.
Texas, excelling in all facets of the game, defeated Texas State 6-0 Saturday at McCombs Field for its second straight shutout in the NCAA Austin Regional.
The Longhorns (41-11) are one victory from securing the regional championship. They’ll have two chances in the double-elimination event, beginning Sunday at 3 p.m. against the survivor of the two games later Saturday: Texas State, Oregon or Saint Francis.
Texas-Texas State was delayed three hours by rain and started at 4 p.m., which pushed back the next two games as well.
“I think it was a complete game for us defensively, offensively and, of course, pitching,” coach Mike White said.
Shea O’Leary (15-4) was the winning pitcher for the second straight day. O’Leary had to work harder than on Friday when she was removed by White after three innings and just 23 pitches in a 12-0 win against Saint Francis.
O’Leary threw more pitches — 25 — in the fifth inning against Texas State, pitching her way out of a bases-loaded predicament by striking out Baylee Lemons swinging and Hannah Earls looking. Texas led 3-0 at the time.
“At that point we had a little momentum going, and unfortunately we had two freshmen at the plate that didn't get the job done,” Texas State coach Ricci Woodard said.
O’Leary threw 94 pitches in seven innings. White said he expects her to be ready for the next game.
“I’m going to have to rip the ball out of her hands,” White said. “She’s not going to like it if I don’t give the ball back to her. We’ll see (which team) comes through the next couple of games. We’ll see how she feels tomorrow, but I'm pretty sure it's a confident ‘yes.’”
Texas State (39-13) lost both regular-season games to Texas 1-0 and 5-4 at McCombs. The Bobcats made two errors in each of those games, allowing unearned runs in both, a total of three.
The Longhorns’ first three runs Saturday were unearned as well. McKenzie Parker doubled off Meagan King (12-5) in the second inning and scored when JJ Smith’s grounder along the first base line appeared to be veering foul, turned back and bounced off first baseman Hailey MacKay’s glove for an error.
Less than 24 hours earlier, MacKay had been a big star, hitting a two-run homer in a win against Oregon. (MacKay later robbed Smith of a hit with a diving stab in the hole between first and second base.)
Texas is 81-7 when scoring first since White became coach in 2019.
The Longhorns scored two more runs in the third off reliever Jessica Mullins, thanks in part to more Texas State adventures in the field.
After Janae Jefferson led off with a walk, Shannon Rhodes hit a hard opposite-field drive to right. The ball bounced off Kylie George’s glove near the wall. Jefferson advanced to third and Rhodes landed on second. The play was difficult for George, on the run, and it was scored as a double.
Jefferson came home when Lauren Burke struck out but catcher Cat Crenek failed to handle the high pitch for a passed ball. Rhodes scored on a sacrifice fly by Taylor Ellsworth, her third in two games this weekend.
Texas added three more runs in the sixth, two on a deep shot by Parker over the center field wall.
The Longhorns completed their second straight game without an error, something they had not accomplished since March 20.
Camille Corona, recently installed as the starting third baseman, had six assists. She also had an infield single.
“She is a fireball,” Parker said. “She brings so much energy.”