The Longhorns kicked off their 2017 campaign with a 5-game weekend. Texas finished 3-2 and defeated Colorado State 7-2 on Sunday to close the weekend at home.
Texas couldn’t pull off victories against No. 14 Minnesota, but senior pitcher Tiarra Davis said it’s important to play tough competition early in the season.
“I get really excited,” Davis said. “I think it’s a challenge and at the end of the day we’re all competitors.”
Davis had a rough outing, Saturday in her start against the Gophers, allowing six runs in five innings. But head coach Connie Clark sees the positives in Davis getting experience regardless of the result.
“She’s mixing speeds better, throwing all of her pitches with a lot of confidence,” Clark said. “I think she’s in a great place and primed to have her best season.”
The Longhorns rebounded after Saturday’s loss with a victories over Maryland and Colorado State. The team has focused on having the mental toughness to move on from losses.
“I would say that the thing we’ve done differently is we’ve instilled a lot of grit in our team and just being more mentally tough,” Davis said. “Those are the two things that I think that we’ve lacked in previous years that’s really going to take us far this year.”
All five of Texas’ pitchers saw action this weekend.
“We have five pitchers right now that are throwing for us, and two lefties and three righties and we’ve got a lot of really good arms and really good options,” Clark said. “So we start there and we finish there.”
One of the biggest stories coming into the weekend was the return of junior pitcher Erica Wright, who was out all of last season with an injury. Wright started a game and came in as relief during the weekend, and said she feels good heading into the rest of the season.
“As far as my shoulder goes, everything felt great, but I mean I was pretty nervous,” Wright said. “After the first inning (against Minnesota) I felt a little bit better when I settled in. It was good to be back.”
Texas will host the Texas Invitational at McCombs Field next weekend.
“It’s always a good benchmark during the first weekend to see where we’re at,” Clark said. “There were a lot of really good takeaways and folks that really stood out from a competitive edge and grit standpoint.”