Unlike in the sport of baseball, the Big 12 does not give out a weekly award to its top newcomers in softball. If it did, Texas may have had a perfect candidate for this past week.
Texas freshman Shea O’Leary earned three victories this past weekend. She went the distance in a 9-1 win over Sam Houston State that was called in the fifth inning. The following day, O’Leary threw three innings of shutout relief against Ole Miss and had a five-inning start against Tulsa.
O’Leary surrendered four hits and one unearned run over the weekend’s 13 innings. According to Texas, O’Leary became the first UT pitcher since Blaire Luna in 2012 to win two games in a single day. Not to be overshadowed, she also had an immaculate inning (nine pitches and three strikeouts) against the Bearkats on Friday.
M2 | IMMACULATE INNING BY SHEA! Nine pitches, nine strikes, three strikeouts for @sheabug29! Amazing!
SHSU 1, TEXAS 1 pic.twitter.com/pAMJpwTcQM
— Texas Softball (@TexasSoftball) February 22, 2019
A 6-2 right-hander from Castaic, Calif., O’Leary has had an immediate impact at a school she committed to in 2015. Over her 24 innings in the circle, O’Leary has compiled a 5-0 record, a 0.29 ERA and 20 strikeouts. O’Leary is only the third UT freshman to open her career with a 5-0 record, and neither Luna (5-0 with a 0.46 ERA in 2010) or Meagan Denny (5-0 with a 0.57 ERA in 2005) won their sixth decision.
Texas currently ranks fourth nationally with its 0.97 ERA. The Longhorns have also gotten big contributions from junior transfer Miranda Elish (4-0; 0.23 ERA) and senior Brooke Bolinger (2-1; 2.80 ERA). Sophomore Ariana Adams is also 1-0 with a 2.33 ERA over her three appearances.
Listed ninth in the NFCA’s national poll, UT is enjoying its highest ranking since the end of the 2013 season. Texas (12-1) will host Houston Baptist on Wednesday afternoon. The Longhorns will then head to Tempe, Ariz., for five games against No. 15 Arizona State, Wisconsin and Princeton.
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