The Longhorns will look to preserve their undefeated record at home this week in a doubleheader against Longwood University on Wednesday.
Texas fell short of two victories at the end of last week’s tournament in Arizona. The team had a strong start early on but eventually wasn’t able to close against Wisconsin and Arizona State, whom the Longhorns defeated in the days prior.
“They capitalized on the walks and the errors that we made, and we had a couple of chances to really keep it at four runs and we didn’t do it,” Texas head coach Mike White said of the team’s performance against Arizona State.
After the loss against the Sun Devils, White also emphasized the team’s need to improve on dealing with the “uncontrollables.”
“You know, no one says it’s gonna be a smooth ride and adversity is gonna come, and I told them that right from the very first day of practice … Nobody stepped up and made the big play to help get us out of that situation, so that’s what we’re gonna talk about … how do you keep that from happening again,” White said.
In preparation for the week ahead, the first-year head coach is looking to work more closely with the pitchers as well as Texas’ ability to be diverse when it comes to playing different positions.
“I think our pitchers need to be better on a tighter strike zone,” White said. “We need to squeeze the plate a little bit in practice to get them used to having to compete.”
Throughout the last few games, Texas has seen four different pitchers on the mound.
Texas has also had to make position adjustments to compete without the assets of a key player — Taylor Ellsworth.
Ellsworth, a catcher and utility player, was scheduled to undergo minor surgery on her left hand to repair an injury suffered during the Texas Classic in early February. Her return to play has been evaluated on a week-to-week basis.
“It’s a little bit difficult without Taylor in the lineup, but hopefully we get her back soon and then we’ll be at full strength,” White said.
Texas will face off against Longwood University in a doubleheader Wednesday, starting at 4:30 p.m. The Lancers enter play with an 11–5 record.
Looking further ahead, Texas hosts the Longhorn Invitational, where it will see Texas Southern and Minnesota over the weekend.
No. 9 Texas, which holds an overall record of 16–3, does not depend on rankings to help with their play, according to catcher Mary Iakopo.
“Like Coach White says, rankings are for the fans. It’s not something we really necessarily look at, because it doesn’t matter who’s top eight,” Iakopo said. “It’s who makes it to the eight.”