Photo: Nathan J Fish/Sun-News-USA TODAY NETWORK
New Mexico State junior guard Sir’Jabari Rice (6-4, 180 lbs.) entered the transfer portal On March 29th, following the departure of the Aggies' Head Coach Chris Jans to Mississippi State. A couple of weeks later, Texas sophmore guard Devin Askew announced his decision to enter the transfer portal. On the same day of Askew's announcement, Chris Beard secured a commitment from Rice.
The Longhorns made his commitment official on Tuesday, with Rice signing an Athletic Scholarship Agreement to play on the 40 Acres for the 2022-2023 season.
Rice's addition to the program will be welcomed as a seasoned upperclassman, as he has played in 111 career games and started in 74 of those games. Last season with New Mexico State he averaged 11.9 points and 4.8 rebounds and shot 42.4 percent from the floor.
Rice played high school basketball at Fort Bend Marshall High School in Houston and helped the Buffalos reach the 5A State Championship Game in 2017.
The Longhorns also recently received positive news from senior forward Timmy Allen and senior guard Marcus Carr who announced their decisions to return for another year.
The last time the Texas Baseball program travelled to Edinburg, Texas, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley took 3 of 4 games from the Longhorns at UTRGV Baseball Stadium.
That was 1971.
Fast forward 50 years and the Vaqueros have high hopes of upsetting the #10 ranked Longhorns again.
Texas is coming off a dominant sweep of the Baylor Bears last weekend and hopes to continue their hard-hitting, power offense that saw them put up 46 runs against Baylor.
Redshirt Sophmore RHP Zane Morehouse (0-0) is expected to get his first start of the season against UTRGV. He has pitched a total of 15.2 innings in relief this season and has given up 14 hits with a 3.45 ERA.
The Vaqueros will start lefty Randy Garcia (1-0, .87 ERA).
The Longhorns hosted UTRGV earlier this month at Disch-Falk Field (April 5, 2022) and defeated the Vaqueros 13-5.
Texas leads the all-time series record 53-6.
What: #10 TEXAS LONGHORNS vs. UTRGV VAQUEROS
When: Tuesday. April 26th, 2022
Time: 6:30 PM CST
Location: Edinburg, TX
Venue: UTRGV Baseball Stadium
The Texas Longhorns wrapped up their annual scrimmage on Saturday night at Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium in a non-traditional format. There was no score kept and players had the opportunity to showcase their growth after fourteen Spring practices, culminating in a scrimmage for the fans. While head coach Steve Sarkisian made mention of how the team still has room to grow, he was happy with the progress to-date.
"Clearly we're not a finished product. There's plenty of work to be done, but we're moving in the right direction."
Texas will open the season, Sarkisian's second with the Longhorns, at Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium on September 3rd against Louisiana-Monroe.
The Hispanic Titanic has hit five home runs in his last five games and has a whopping on-base plus slugging percentage of 1.942.
Texas first baseman Ivan Melendez is riding an eight game hitting streak, and the junior redshirt is absolutely pummeling the baseball in those eight games. Melendez went 3-4 and had two home runs in the series finale against Baylor on Sunday, leading the #10 Longhorns to a 13-4 victory and series sweep.
He has 21 home runs this season and maintains a .401 batting average.
His production over the last five games was good enough to secure Big 12 Honors this week, as he was named Player of the Week for the third time this season. Melendez was also named a Collegiate Baseball Player of the Week this week.
Melendez and the Longhorns will face UT-Rio Grande Valley in a Tuesday night matchup before hosting a Top-10 Oklahoma State Cowboys team at Disch-Falk Field in a weekend series that starts Friday.
Photo courtesy Texas Baseball
AUSTIN, Texas - Texas began the day looking to sweep the series against the Baylor Bears at Disch-Falk Field. For the second game in a row a complete performance from the Longhorns saw them sail past the Bears, 13-4.
The Longhorns' offense has been on a roll as of late. Ivan Melendez had another fantastic day at the plate, starting with a 1st inning, 2-run home run immediately followed by a solo home run from Murphy Stehly. Austin Todd added to the count with a 3rd inning solo homer for his first of the season.
The offense continued feasting in the 4th and 5th innings. Dylan Campbell scored on a poor throw to third base on an attempt to tag him out. Melendez followed up with a 2-RBI single after Douglas Hodo was walked and Austin Todd had a single of his own. In the 5th, Skyler Messinger added a 2-run homer to left field that brought in Silas Ardoin after he singled into center field to get him on base. The series of hits brought the Texas lead to 9-2.
Melendez furthered his home run count with a 6th inning solo shot to left center field. Melendez leads Division I in slugging percentage (.908) as well with 21 home runs which is good for 3rd most all-time in a single season in Texas Baseball history. Over a third of Melendez's hits this season have been for homers (21-61).
The scoring continued in the 8th inning with a pair of bases-loaded walks from Ardoin that brought in Douglas Hodo and Messinger. Austin Todd scored also to decide the final tally at 13-4.
Starter Lucas Gordon (4-1) found himself in some danger at the top of the 1st. A double, and back-to-back hit batters loaded the bases. After a mound visit, he salvaged the situation, allowing only one run with mostly smooth-sailing from then on out. Jared Southard came in to relieve Gordon followed by Luke Harrison with Aaron Nixon finishing the game.
A master class of a series featured 13 home runs, the most of any series this year as well as 46 runs scored on 48 hits.
The Longhorns will travel to UT-Rio Grande Valley on Tuesday, then arguably their toughest series this upcoming weekend against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The series will take place at Disch-Falk Field (April 29 - May 1) and will air on Longhorn Network.
Steve Sarkisian and the Texas Longhorns wrapped up Spring Camp with the annual Orange and White scrimmage on Saturday. There were a multitude of positions and players to discuss, some which wowed and some which are still a work in progress. Here are several thoughts on what transpired at Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday evening.
1. Quinn Ewers is the guy to lead the offense. He is young and still has room to grow but the offense just has a different groove with him at the helm than when Hudson Card is leading. Card isn't a bad option by any stretch of the imagination, but with Ewers there is a different ceiling that is possible. The deep ball to wide receiver Isaiah Neyor that resulted in a touchdown was an absolute beauty.
2. The offensive line still is a work in progress. The spring game is a zero sum game but there were times that both Card and Ewers were under pressure to the point of having no time to do anything in the pocket. While that could indicate the defensive line is just better, we know what this offensive line was last year. If the offensive line can manage to be just average, the Longhorns can have one of the best offenses in the nation.
3. Isaiah Neyor is someone who really passes the eye test. The zip ball from Ewers was exceptional, but Neyor looks like the player Texas needs that will take pressure off of Xavier Worthy. When Jordan Whittington went down last year, the offense experienced a drop-off in performance. With the addition of Neyor, Sark has another extremely reliable receiver. Neyor could very well solidify himself as the number two guy in the receiving corps when the season gets underway. Big offseason pickup for Steve Sarkisian.
Steve Sarkisian received more good news following the team's annual Orange & White Scrimmage on Saturday, this time with the commitment of 2023 wide receiver Ryan Niblett. Niblett, who attends Aldine Eisenhower High School in Houston, announced his commitment shortly after DeSoto running back Tre Wisner made his intentions public.
Niblett is a highly coveted prospect at the wide receiver position and is ranked as the 16th best in the country. He is also ranked as the 19th best player in the state and 106th best overall in the country.
Niblett held offers from a myriad of programs including Alabama, Baylor, LSU, Arkansas, Texas A&M and USC.
The 5-10, 170 lb. speedster becomes the fifth commit in the Texas Class of 2023 joining running back Tre Wisner, linebacker S'Maje Burrell, defensive lineman Dylan Spencer and safety Jamel Johnson.
The Longhorns' Spring Game which took place on Saturday at Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium yielded its first dividend on the recruiting front, with 2023 DeSoto Running Back Tre Wisner pulling the trigger in favor of Texas.
Wisner, who is 5-11 and 180 lbs., is rated the 12th best running back in the country and the 36th best player in the state of Texas according to the 247 Sports Composite Rankings.
Wisner holds offers from Texas A&M, LSU, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Florida and Ole Mis among others.
He played his first two seasons at Waco Connally High School before transferring to DeSoto.
His commitment makes him the first on the offensive side of the ball, joining linebacker S'Maje Burrell, defensive lineman Dylan Spencer and safety Jamel Johnson.
Photo: Courtesy Texas Baseball
On a day honoring the 2002 College World Championship team, the #10 Texas Longhorns offense continued its hot streak. Texas once again faced Baylor at Disch-Falk Field in a 13-4 victory that clinched the series and tightened the Big 12 standings.
It was another busy day at the plate for David Pierce's Longhorns. For the second game in a row the entire starting lineup landed a hit. Douglas Hodo III (3-4, 4RBI, 1HR) started the scoring with a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Skyler Messinger (3-4, 2RBI), and a 3rd inning sacrifice fly out from Messinger that scored Melendez (1-2, 2RBI, 1HR). The series of hits put two runs on the board for the 'Horns.
After a double from Daly (1-3) and a single from Faltine (3-3, 2RBI, 1HR) Hodo drove in Daly with a single into left field. A wild throw to first following a bunt from Todd drove in Faltine and a subsequent 2-run homer from Ivan Melendez gave Texas a 6-3 lead. Melendez now leads the nation in home runs (19) along with a second place slugging percentage (.845).
Trey Faltine has seemingly caught fire as of late. A 5th inning, full count 2-run bomb cleared the center field fence pushing his home run count to (12) on the season, (.692 BA in last 3 games, including 10 RBI) giving the ‘Horns a 8-3 lead. After the game Head Coach David Pierce mentioned how impressed he was with Faltine’s at-bat, protecting the plate and keeping enough for the home run to expand the lead.
Some late game insurance was offered from Silas Ardoin (2-4, 2RBI, 1HR). Ardoin hammered a 2-run homer to left field, and Texas also got as a 7th inning 2-run homer from Hodo. Messinger followed with an RBI single that scored Melendez to give Texas a final 13-4 victory.
Tristan Stevens had a solid outing, compiling 96 pitches, 7Ks, 6 ⅔ IP, and another win to his record. However, it didn’t come without some hiccups. Baylor’s Jared McKenzie went yard twice with a pair of solo home runs, along with a couple RBI’s from Chase Wehsener and Jacob Schoenvogel. Luke Harrison spelled Stevens as well as Lebarron Johnson Jr. with Daniel Blair finishing the game.
The 'Horns have amassed an astonishing 33 runs in the last two games including 9 home runs. They'll look to bolster those numbers Sunday when they take on the Bears at 1pm. The game will be aired on Longhorn Network.
Photo courtesy Texas Baseball
Texas (28-13, 7-6) dominated Baylor (20-18, 4-9) at Disch-Faulk Field to the tune of five home runs and four doubles in a 20-1 thrashing of the Bears. An early and unrelenting handling of Baylor put this game out of reach early.
Pete Hansen manned the mound to begin the game for Texas. He pitched for five innings only allowing one run on five hits, continuing his stellar season and picking up another win for the Longhorns. Hansen currently holds a (7-1) record with a (2.78 ERA).
The Texas offense stayed busy at the plate. A second inning RBI from Trey Faltine started the scoring with a line drive down the third base line to bring home Stehly, Messinger, and Campbell to give the 'Horns a quick three run lead.
Baylor answered with an RBI single into left field by Tre Richardson which would be their only score of the evening.
The Texas offense came right back with a three run homer from Silas Ardoin that drove in Todd and Stehly to strengthen a 6-1 lead.
A slew of hits through the 4th Inning saw the entire Texas lineup accrue a hit. Campbell and Daly batted into left field securing them on base following with an RBI single from Faltine that drove them in. Douglas Hodo singled into right field while Austin Todd brought in Faltine. However, Todd was called out after over-running Hodo as a result of the ball deflecting off of the glove of the outfielder, leaving Hodo on base. Ivan Melendez then smashed a deep, two-run homer to center field. Stehly singled into left field and Campbell brought him in with a deep shot RBI double into center field giving the Longhorns a commanding 13-1 lead.
The Longhorns' offense continued in the 5th inning with a single from Faltine, an RBI double from Hodo that drove in Faltine, a wild pitch walk from Todd, and a RBI single from Melendez that scored Hodo. Stehly joined with a sacrifice fly that scored Todd for the final run of the inning extending the lead to 16-1.
The scoring continued for the 'Horns in the 6th and 7th inning by virtue of solo homers from Messinger and Hodo. Freshman Kimble Schuessler finalized the 20-1 Longhorns victory with a monster 2-run homer in the 7th.
20 runs marks the most runs the Longhorns have had since 2010 in a match against Missouri. The blitzing performance included a career high five RBI's from Trey Faltine and first career home run from Kimble Schuessler.
The Longhorns look to take the series tomorrow with a 1:00 pm showing against the Bears.
Trey Faltine: 5RBI, 3H, 2
Douglas Hodo: 2RBI, 3H, 3R, 1HR
Ivan Melendez: 3RBI, 2H, 1R, 1HR
Silas Ardoin: 3RBI, 1H, 1R, 1HR
Pete Hansen: 5IP, 5H, 1R
Texas will wrap up spring practice Saturday evening with the Orange-White spring game, although this year's spring game will have a little different format. Steve Sarkisian mentioned after Thursday's practice that they will not be splitting up the roster into two teams this year, instead opting for an offense-defense scrimmage of around 100 plays with a competitive red-zone period to end the evening.
Despite not having a conventional spring game, there are still plenty of storylines to follow as the Longhorns hold their final practice before entering into the offseason.
1. Hudson Card vs Quinn Ewers
Another year, another QB battle. One benefit of this year's spring game setup is both QB's should see time with the first team offense. Regardless of how both perform on Saturday, this is a battle that will stretch into fall camp. This will be the first opportunity for fans to see Quinn Ewers in live action, and it will be interesting to see how the redshirt freshman responds with fans in stands during a live scrimmage environment.
Hudson Card had a solid spring game a year ago before ultimately winning the starting job in fall camp and then losing it in week 3 of the regular season. Card will need to display better pocket presence and accuracy than he showed in 2021.
Both quarterbacks have the arm talent to execute Steve Sarkisian's offense, so the ability to take care of the football and limit mistakes will likely play a big role in who opens the season as the starter.
2. Will the LB's take the next step?
The entire Texas defense was not good in 2021, but the linebacker position in particular struggled mightily for extended stretches. This was a massive spring for DeMarvion Overshown, Jaylan Ford, David Gbenda and Devin Richardson. Overshown is completing his first (!) spring practice at LB, while Ford is looking to build on some solid performances at the end of last season. All 4 linebackers will need to take big steps forward in defending the run and Saturday will serve as an early test to see how far they have come in 15 practices.
3. Making the pieces fit together at WR
It has been a big offseason in the WR room, with Brennan Marion being hired and several transfers joining the fold. Xavier Worthy is the clear number one receiver and should be in for a big sophomore campaign. How things shake out behind Worthy will be one of the more interesting developments to watch beginning on Saturday. Jordan Whittington is fully healthy and looking to build on a 2021 season where he put together several quality games before suffering an injury. Senior Marcus Washington saw extended action following Whittington's injury and is perhaps the best blocking WR on the team.
One of the biggest additions of the offseason was snagging Wyoming transfer Isaiah Neyor from the portal. Neyor brings a different skillset with his length and catch radius. He very well might open fall camp as the starter opposite of Xavier Worthy. Fellow transfer Agiye Hall committed to Texas earlier this week and is set to join the team this summer after finishing his semester at Alabama.
There are no shortage of options for Texas at WR. In addition to the 5 players mentioned above, redshirt sophomore Kelvontay Dixon and redshirt freshman Casey Cain will be fighting for snaps. Saturday's spring game will serve as the first data point for how Steve Sarkisian and Brennan Marion deploy the options at their disposal.
Photo: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Two days after Texas forward Timmy Allen announced his decision to return to the program next season, his teammate and senior guard Marcus Carr announced his decision to also return to the 40 Acres.
The announcement came via Instagram on Friday with the caption "Standard Set. Expectations remain high. Bar Risen and never been one to walk underneath. Longhorn Nation, I have a promise to keep. See you in the Moody!
Carr transferred to Texas from the University of Minnesota last season and averaged 11.4 points and 3.4 assists per game in his first year with the Longhorns.
His return is significant, as he started in 32 of 24 games and was second in scoring for Chris Beard's program.
Photo courtesy of Texas Athletics
AUSTIN, TX -- Four days after dealing top-ranked Oklahoma their first loss of the season, the Texas Longhorns (32-12-1) hosted the Houston Cougars (23-20-1) on Tuesday evening in a final midweek contest before wrapping up the regular season with three weekend series (@ Oklahoma State, @ Texas Tech, Baylor).
McKenzie Parker's solo home run in the bottom of the first inning put Texas on the board first and gave the 'Horns a 1-0 lead.
The offensive firepower continued in the second inning, with junior Lou Gilbert hitting a two-run shot to left-center field to extend the Texas lead to 3-0 over Houston. Senior Janae Jefferson continued the scoring for the Longhorns, delivering a two-out, two-run blast to right-center field giving Texas a 5-0 advantage.
The Cougars assembled a four-run third inning on a two-run RBI double by Aspen Howie and consecutive RBI's from Becca Schulte and Kati Ray Brown.
Texas led 5-4 after three innings played.
Janae Jefferson provided an insurance run for the Longhorns in the fourth inning, scoring Gilbert on an RBI hit up the middle.
Hailey Dolcini relieved starter Estelle Czech in the sixth inning.
With one out and one on in the seventh inning, Bella Dayton's highlight catch in foul territory notched the second out for Texas.
Dolcini struck out Kati Ray Brown to end the game with the Longhorns winning 6-4.
UP NEXT: #16 Texas will travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma to face the #6 Oklahoma State Cowboys on Friday, April 22 at 6 p.m. CST.
AUSTIN, TX -- After an explosive outing from the Falcons' offense on Tuesday that saw them defeat Texas to the tune of 14-2, the Longhorns looked to avenge their mediocre performance and get back in the win column.
Air Force began with a homerun on just the third pitch of the game. A few nice catches by the Texas fielders brought the Texas offense to the plate. Murphy Stehly hit a 2-run home run over the left field fence that gave Texas their first lead in the 2-game series. A slew of hits from Mitchell Daly and Trey Faltine gave Texas two more runs before Silas Ardoin nailed a 3-run double off the right field wall to expand Texas' lead. Skyler Messinger followed up with an RBI single to drive Ardoin home, bringing the score to 8-1 in favor of the Longhorns.
The Falcons responded with their own 5-run inning at the top of the 3rd, hitting two 2-run homers and an RBI double to trim the score to 8-6. Soon after in the 5th inning, Douglas Hodo III would stream a grounder down the 3rd base line to score Dylan Campbell. Followed by a 6th inning Melendez score from a sacrifice fly by Ardoin to give Texas some momentary breathing room. However, Air Force would answer with back to back single-run homers in the 7th, bringing the score back to a 2-run game, 10-8.
At the top of the 9th inning, Texas brought in closer Aaron Nixon to finish out Air Force, but the Falcons wouldn't go easy. A homerun from Jake Grieving and an RBI bunt from Trayden Tamiya tied the game and opened the door to a possible extra-inning victory for the Falcons.
That was until Trey Faltine stepped to the plate...
In the bottom of the 9th inning, on a 2-2 count, Faltine blasted what would be a 2-run walk-off home run to secure a 12-10 victory for the Longhorns.
Texas gained a much needed win before facing the Baylor Bears in a weekend series at Disch-Falk Field. The Bears are currently riding a 4-game winning streak.
Trey Faltine: 2R, 3RBI, 3H, 1HR
Murphy Stehly: 2R, 2RBI, 3H, 1HR
Silas Ardoin: 1R, 4RBI, 1H
The day after Chris Beard and the Texas Longhorns Basketball team learned of sophmore guard Devin Askew's intention to enter the transfer portal, the team received a burst of positive news. The news came from senior forward Timmy Allen's Instagram account on Wednesday morning with the following caption:
"I'm coming back. My last chase for championships in college, with my brothers. This is how my story is supposed to go. It's already written."
Allen's status for net season was arguably the largest question mark along with that of fellow senior Marcus Carr. Carr has yet to announce his decision.
Allen, who transferred to Texas after spending three seasons with Utah, averaged 12.1 points and 6.4 rebound per game.
AUSTIN, TX— To begin a two game series at Disch-Falk Field, the Air Force Falcons (15-19) travelled to Austin to face the #10 Longhorns (26-12) in what would become a disappointing outing for Texas.
Pitching continues to be a thorn in the Longhorns’ side. Justin Eckhardt started the game allowing the first 3 batters to get on base. The bases loaded jam eventually gave way to a couple of groundout RBIs to give Air Force an immediate 2-0 lead.
To begin the top of the 2nd Inning, Eckhardt allowed a homerun into left field, a single and a walk which forced head coach David Pierce to pull him for freshman left-gander Luke Harrison.
Harrison’s appearance unfortunately didn’t yield better results. After allowing a walk and loading the bases, Harrison conceded a series of singles which scored 2 more runs before giving up a 3-run homer into left field. The Falcons held a very early 8-0 lead.
Air Force would continue their scoring barrage. A single run in the 6th inning and a plethora of hits in the 8th inning allowed the Falcons to score 5 more runs, extending their lead to 14-2.
The Longhorns had a poor day at the plate as well. Their lone scores came from a monster home run from Ivan Melendez in the 3rd and an unearned score from Douglas Hodo in the 4th inning.
It was a forgettable day for the Longhorns, who suffered their worse loss on the season. They’ll have another chance against Air Force on Wednesday at 4:00 pm. The game can be viewed on Longhorn Network.
On Tuesday, Steve Sarkisian was able to land a transfer wide receiver for the second time this offseason with the addition of Agiye Hall, a former Alabama wideout.
Earlier in April, Alabama head coach Nick Saban had announced that Hall was suspended from the team for violating the program's rules. This suspension had unofficially marked the end of Hall's time with the Crimson Tide, now becoming official with the wide receiver's intention to move to the Forty Acres.
Last season at Alabama, Hall saw the field sparingly as a freshman and only recorded four receptions for 72 yards after finding himself behind Jameson Williams and John Metchie on the depth chart. However, coming out of high school, Hall was the fifth-ranked wide receiver in the nation's 2021 recruiting class per the 247Sports Composite, and will have an opportunity to compete for playing time at Texas if the off-field issues can be sorted out.
The 6'3" Alabama transfer will join recent Wyoming transfer, Isaiah Neyor, as new additions to the Longhorns wide receiving core. Currently, the group is led by soon-to-be sophomore Xavier Worthy, who had a breakout freshman season campaign with 981 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns, as well as third-down threat junior Jordan Whittington.
Prior to reclassifying to the Class of 2020 at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California, Devin Askew was at one point the top-ranked point guard recruit in the country. Askew played his freshman season for John Calipari at Kentucky, starting 20 games for the Wildcats before electing to transfer to Texas.
The sophmore guard played in 34 games for Chris Beard's Longhorns last season, averaging 2.1 points and 1.3 assists per game.
Askew will once again make his way to the transfer portal, after making his intention to transfer public via his Instagram account on Tuesday morning.
"I would like to start by thanking the University of Texas for giving me the opportunity to come and play the game I love. To my teammates, I wouldn't have gone to battle with anyone else on the court, and I can't express how much I appreciate every one of you.
I'd also like to thank Coach Beard and the entire coaching staff for providing me with their support and guidance this past year. You all allowed me to grow as both a basketball player and as a man.
After much thought and deliberation, I have decided to enter the transfer portal."
The largest crowd in McCombs Field history gathered in Austin on Saturday to celebrate the career of Longhorn legend, Cat Osterman, as the University of Texas retired the three-time olympic champion’s jersey number on her 39th birthday. In turn, those in attendance had a front row seat as No. 18 Texas conquered No. 1 Oklahoma in an improbable win on an already extraordinary day. With the 4-2 victory, Texas terminated a 23-game skid against their rival dating back to 2014. The Longhorns also snapped Oklahoma’s 40-game win streak (third-best in NCAA history) as they dealt the Sooners their first loss in an astounding 312 days.
The esteemed skippers of both programs returned to their game one starters, calling upon Texas senior Hailey Dolcini and Oklahoma freshman Jordy Bahl to battle one another again in the series finale. Exhilaration was abundant in the pitching duel between the two hurlers known for their armside dealings and clever craftsmanship. Hailey Dolcini emerged triumphant after her picturesque performance on Cat Osterman Day notched a second complete game for Dolcini in the series.
The senior held Oklahoma scoreless through the first six innings of the competition until a two-run shot put Oklahoma on the scoreboard in the game's final frame. While Dolcini would perhaps take a mulligan on that pitch, few could have drawn up a more fitting ending to the tantalizing series. Dolcini overwhelmed Oklahoma, holding the Sooners to a season-low two hits throughout her seven innings in the circle. She issued three strikeouts while collecting two earned runs on 100 total pitches, 70 of which were strikes.
When asked what is so impressive about his ace, Coach Mike White noted Dolcini’s poise in an atmosphere polluted with intense emotions and crippling pressure. “I’m just really impressed with her today,” added White. His tone rejected any generalization in the otherwise mundane sentiment and replaced it with the pride of a mentor whose wildest dreams for the fifth-year transfer from Fresno State were unfolding before his eyes.
Tears of joy and a sprinkle of relief adorned the Fortuna High School alumna’s face during her postgame interview. Dolcini credited the establishment of her screwball as a critical element of her dominant performance. It’s worth repeating that Dolcini faced the nation’s best offense not once, but twice in a mere 72-hours. Throughout the second game, Cat Osterman praised Dolcini from the Longhorn Network booth, noting Dolcini’s hallmark skill that few athletes possess – the ability to self-reflect, identify opportunities for growth, and implement adjustments in just one day’s time.
Dolcini posted an impeccable line on the series: 14 IP, 220 P, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, and 7 K.
On Saturday, the play of the Longhorns as a whole improved drastically over their earlier performances in the series. The Texas defense was perfect in game three, earning no errors in stark contrast to their two previous outings.The Horns’ offense delighted as they utilized small-ball and advantageous situations to wear down Oklahoma’s Jordy Bahl. The Texas lineup worked a season-high 128 pitches and 8 hits from Bahl, who has been utterly dominant for the previously undefeated Sooners.
Texas finally bested Bahl after Courtney Day opened the bottom of the fifth inning with a leadoff double before Lou Gilbert entered to pinch run for Day. Catcher Mary Iakopo gave Texas their first lead of the series with a perfectly placed, one-out blooper to left-field. The senior took advantage of the deep Oklahoma outfield and remained even through a rise ball to score Gilbert from second.
With the 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the sixth, the Longhorns looked to add insurance runs against the potent Sooners whose lineup is known for putting up crooked numbers in any frame. Alyssa Washington trotted to first on a rare leadoff walk from Jordy Bahl. With two-outs and Washington’s speed on second base, Lou Gilbert singled, leaving a rattled Bahl to deal with Longhorns on the corners.
Senior standout Janae Jefferson stepped to the plate to face Bahl. While complimenting Jefferson’s softball acumen and total performance, honoree Cat Osterman remarked she hopes to be back at McCombs field as a spectator for Jefferson’s jersey retirement ceremony. Before Osterman could finish her sentence, Jefferson dealt a crushing blow to Oklahoma’s freshman arm as she worked a walk on a 3-0 count to load the bases. With the bases loaded and the prospect of a Texas victory brewing, Mia Scott walloped a bases-clearing double to put the Horns in front, 4-0.
The air at McCombs Field stood still as Hailey Dolcini returned to the mound to fend off the Sooners for three more outs. While Oklahoma would earn two-runs off a home run from Kinzie Hansen, Dolcini conquered consecutive Sooners to seal the momentous victory for Texas, 4-2.
The implications of the historic victory remain to be seen for both Texas and Oklahoma. While Oklahoma is likely to face future opponents for a vengeance, Texas fans anticipate this victory will light a fire under the Longhorns. With the eyes of the nation upon them, Coach Mike White and his Longhorns redefined themselves in a matter of mere hours, issuing a resounding warning to pundits and opponents alike: if you take on Texas, you’re bound to get hooked.
Texas softball welcomed another sold out crowd to McCombs Field in a celebration billed ‘Texas Traditions Night’ as the Longhorns hosted No. 1 Oklahoma for game two of the Red River Rivalry series. The most glaring tradition honored on Friday was an abysmal one on the diamond as the Sooners added yet another contest to the win column over No. 18 Texas. Oklahoma is now 50-24 in the all-time series versus the Longhorns including a 19-9 record when playing in Austin.
The Texas offense continued to play the role of the Grinch on Friday while gifting Horns fans glimmers of hope, only to revoke and replace favorable moments with those of despair. Texas bats mustered a meager four hits and one run during Friday's shortened contest. Meanwhile, the illustrious Oklahoma offense resumed normal operations after Texas ace Hailey Dolcini kept them at bay on Thursday. The Sooners combined for eight hits and nine runs, six of which came in the top of the fifth inning to invoke the NCAA’s run-rule which provides for the termination of a contest when one team boasts a score of eight or more runs at the close of the fifth inning.
Texas freshman, Sophia Simpson, received the nod to start the game. The right-hander made history earlier this season as she became only the tenth freshman to throw a no-hitter. While Simpson holds all the components of an elite pitcher, the young gun for Texas has battled to maintain confidence and stability in recent outings.
Simpson’s struggles on Friday seemed to appear with Sooners on the base paths. Simpson found success against only two of the ten hitters she faced with runners on base. Understandably, Oklahoma bats capitalized on their seniority against the freshman -- most notably in their ability to make adjustments with ease in order to increase offensive productivity. The freshman held her own against OU, posting four strikeouts, two walks, four hits, and four earned runs on her line. Simpson utilized 66 pitches against 20 batters in her four-inning effort.
Estelle Czech emerged from the bullpen in the bottom of the fifth inning, inheriting Sooners on the corners with no outs. Lyons laid down a first-pitch bunt against Czech, who fielded the ball cleanly, but found a vacant first base when she turned to make the throw for what should have been a guaranteed put-out. After the defensive fumble from Texas, the Sooners drew three hits and one walk off Czech before the sophomore lefty was able to stop the bleeding.
Texas entered the bottom of the fifth needing to score a minimum of one run to prolong the contest. With one out, Janae Jefferson wore a pitch from Oklahoma’s Hope Trautwein to earn a leisurely stroll down to first base. Mia Scott singled for her second hit of the series before McKenzie Parker drew her third walk of the game to load the bases. With Parker’s perfect on-base percentage and senior Mary Iakopo stepping into the box, the air was abuzz with potential for the Longhorns. Unfortunately, Iakopo made loud contact only for the line drive to grant the Sooners a double play to cement the 9-1 run-rule win and series victory.
The Texas offense stranded a total of six runners on base throughout the night. The lone run for the Longhorns was delivered by JJ Smith whose solo-shot came with two outs in the second inning. Smith combined with Alyssa Washington, Janae Jefferson, and Mia Scott to tally Texas’s four hits while McKenzie Parker drew three walks in her three at-bats. The Horns continued to struggle defensively with two fielding errors lending a hand to the already sufficiently capable Sooners squad. To paraphrase the words of Texas great Cat Osterman from the booth, the Longhorns need to play smart, efficient softball to contend with the nation’s best team. Unfortunately, Texas has been unable to string together enough productive and timely efforts on either side of the ball to deal a blow to the undefeated Sooners.
Texas looks to rebound and hand Oklahoma their first loss of the season during the series finale of the Red River Rivalry on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 pm CST, following pregame ceremonies to retire the jersey number of Longhorn legend, Cat Osterman. The festivities at McCombs field will be broadcast on the Longhorn Network with another sold-out crowd expected to be in attendance.