Neither the burnt orange of the Longhorns or the Crimson of the Sooners was predominately on display in the second game of the softball edition of the Red River Rivalry on Saturday afternoon.
Instead, it featured a different color: Pink.
In the “Pink at the Plate” game, fans were encouraged to wear pink to support breast cancer awareness, with the Texas players wearing pink socks in support on the field.
With the stands filled with fans of both schools and plenty of pink, the Longhorns fell to the Sooners 3-1 in the second leg of the three game series.
Senior Tiarra Davis started the game in the circle for Texas, pitching five innings and allowing a single earned run. Due to errors and an inability to produce on offense, the Longhorns struggled to keep up with the Sooners.
“I thought we had a good game plan and a pretty good approach, but we really could just not string anything together,” head coach Connie Clark said. “They made a couple nice plays early and kept us from getting any momentum going.”
Through four innings, freshman Sooner Mariah Lopez had no-hit the Texas offense. After an RBI double by senior Kelli Hanzel drove in freshman Kaitlyn Washington to run the score to 3-1, the pitching staff shut down any opportunity for a comeback.
For the second day in a row, the Longhorn offense could only muster two hits. Against a fast paced Oklahoma team, that production was not enough to beat last year’s NCAA champion.
“We’re hitting the ball hard,” Hanzel said. “For the first couple of innings we were hitting the ball right at people. We’re just figuring out how to get those to drop and I think all we can do is keep swinging.”
Heading into a crucial third game tomorrow, the Longhorns have reason to be hopeful. Since late February, every loss to a ranked opponent was by a margin of three runs or less. With only about a month left in the season, there is still time to turn things around.
“We try to take it one game at a time,” Hanzel said. “We’re just staying positive and we know we can hang with them. We’ve showed it in the past two days.”
With the postseason right around the corner, the pressure to collect signature wins is at an all-time high for the season. Starting with tomorrow’s game, the Longhorns can begin bolster their tournament resume.
“It’s absolutely huge,” Clark said. “From an RPI standpoint, we have had opportunity after opportunity after opportunity. Even getting one for RPI purposes is huge.”
Texas continues its series with the Sooners at 12 p.m. on Sunday at Red & Charline McCombs Field.