While the team’s weekend in California was fun, sophomore right-hander Rachel Fox is glad to be back in Texas and is ready for more softball.
After a long, five-game stretch on the road, the No. 6 Longhorns had two days of rest before facing in-state rival Texas State University in a doubleheader tonight. Texas will then turn around for a three-game series against Sam Houston State University this weekend in Austin.
The Longhorns are up in the polls from No. 8 after a strong showing at the Cathedral City Classic tournament in Palm Springs, Calif., this past weekend. Fox proved to be a solid contributor in the circle with her performance in California.
The Texas native, who is 3-0 on the season, pitched two complete games and three innings of relief and finished with a 2-0 record for the tournament. Fox, who ended last season ranked No. 2 in the Big 12 with an ERA of 1.24, allowed only two earned runs in just over 17 innings to finish the weekend with a team low of 0.88 tournament ERA. In addition, Fox fanned 12 batters over the weekend while only walking four.
“I just need to do whatever I can whenever I’m called upon, just doing my job,” Fox said. “I just need to keep the runners off and get us into the dugout as quick as possible.”
Fox’s success so far this season, as well as her year of experience from last season, will be an asset as the Longhorns get deeper into their season. Even though there are four pitchers on the Texas offense trading time in the circle, Fox and junior All-American Blaire Luna are the only two with solid game-time experience from last year. Junior Kim Bruins did not contribute as much last season in the circle.
Last spring, Luna was overworked late in the season. In the postseason, which included two games at the Big 12 Championship Tournament as well as three games at the NCAA tournament, Luna started all of the Longhorns’ five games. With two years of experience, Fox and Bruins will be able to relieve some of the pressure off of Luna.
In the meantime, Texas faces a tough stretch at home that includes the Texas State Bobcats, an in-state rival who always provides a challenge for the Longhorns.
“It is always a good game here when they come and play us,” Fox said. “With Texas State being so close to us here in Austin, they have a lot of fans here, we have a lot of fans here, this house [will be] packed and the atmosphere is good.”
The Bobcats, who are 8-7 for the season, are on a four-game win streak heading into tonight’s doubleheader. The last time these two teams met was at the NCAA Texas regional in postseason play last May. The Longhorns, behind Luna, shut out the Bobcats 2-0 in the first game of the regional.
During the regular season, the Longhorns defeated the Bobcats twice, a 2-1 win at home and a 6-2 win in San Marcos. Texas leads the series against Texas State 27-9.
The first game of the double header is slated for 5:30 p.m. with the second expected to start at 8 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on the Longhorn Network.