The last two games have been nothing short of a roller coaster for pitcher Shea O’Leary.
On Wednesday, she threw her first career perfect game in a 2-0 road win over Baylor, the best pitching performance fans have seen from a Longhorn hurler this season. Yet Saturday, O’Leary did not have her best stuff, as she only lasted 1.1 innings in an 8-0 loss to Oklahoma State in Stillwater.
It was the shortest start made by O’Leary this season and it’s not particularly close. The freshman came into the game leading the NCAA with an 0.45 ERA in 62.2 innings thrown . But she faced just nine batters in Saturday’s start, allowing two hits and three runs.
Oklahoma State got going quickly, scoring a run on a sacrifice bunt with no outs, then picking up another on a throwing error made by Texas on a ground ball. O’Leary was run out of the game after hitting the leadoff batter in the second inning, then allowing another runner to reach on a fielder’s choice.
Her relief on the mound did not fare much better. Pitcher Brooke Bolinger came into the game in the second inning and the fourth pitch she threw was hit out of the ballpark by Oklahoma State utility player Rylee Bayless for a two-run homer. Cowgirl first baseman Samantha Show followed with a solo shot of her own that made it a 5-0 lead. Just like that, the Longhorns were at a five-run deficit in just the second frame.
Pitcher Ariana Adams came into the game in the fourth inning after Bollinger walked a hitter with one out. Adams allowed a run to score on an RBI double, then allowed two more to cross the plate in the fifth, ending the game in the first run-rule loss the Longhorns have faced this season. The Texas pitching staff that had been on an absolute tear as of late could not figure out the tough Oklahoma State lineup.
“I’d like to see us be a little more polished — fewer pitches per inning would be great,” Texas head coach Mike White said on Tuesday before the series.
In the same right, Stillwater has not been kind to the Texas bats. Saturday’s game made it back-to-back shutouts of the Longhorns after they had gone the entire season without posting a zero on the scoreboard. It was an excellent performance on the hill from Cowgirl pitcher Samantha Clakley, who allowed just three hits on the day.
“You never know until you do it,” White said earlier in the week about road conference games. “We’ve been on the road quite a bit early on … but conference games are always different. Trying to win the series first is what you always want to try and do.”
This will be the first weekend series loss for Texas this season, and the first two games have displayed a lifeless offense and inconsistent pitching. While a win on Sunday would simply avoid a sweep, the way the Longhorns have fared the last two days, any win in Stillwater would be welcomed with open arms.