Texas faces off against Texas State this weekend in a two-game, home-and-home series stitched together by heartstrings.
The matchup will bring together former teammates and place siblings against each other. Cat Osterman, Texas softball legend, will return in her new role as Texas State assistant coach.
For freshman pitcher Erica Wright, who will don her No. 20 uniform proudly, another Wright bearing the same number in the visitor’s dugout will tug at her emotions.
Texas State’s junior pitcher Ashley Wright is Erica’s older sister. They grew up supporting each other and continue to do so despite playing each other at the collegiate level.
“People always ask us, ‘Are y’all really competitive towards each other?’ but, honestly, we’re the exact opposite,” Erica said. “We both want each other to do super well. It’s so great playing her; she’s my best friend.”
With Texas State’s ace, freshman Randi Rupp, throwing so well in recent games, it’s unclear whether the Wright sisters will have a pitcher’s duel this weekend. But that might be helpful for Erica, who said it was tricky to play against her sister in
“I was so nervous — not for me, even though it was my first start,” Erica said. “I was nervous for her, but I wanted us to do well, too, so it was kind of a struggle in that way.”
Other players on the team said they appreciate seeing familiar faces.
Junior center fielder Lindsey Stephens said she enjoys going up against Osterman.
“It’s always fun because when you walk past her, you’re like, ‘What about that hit?’ or, ‘Why’d you throw that pitch at me, Cat?’” Stephens said. “She’s watched us, and she knows our weaknesses and our strengths, so it’s always fun to have that familiar face to kind of pick on.”
Erica has been one of the team’s strongest players. She earned Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Week honors for her performance in the sweep of Kansas last weekend, has the best record on the staff at 10–4 and her 2.43 ERA is second best on
Texas has dominated the series between the two, winning the last ten meetings. But Stephens said they know they need to keep up their “never quit” attitude.
“Even when we’re down, we have the offense; we have the athletes; we have the depth to keep fighting, to keep competing,” Stephens said. “We’re never out of the game.”
Head coach Connie Clark said she doesn’t think the familiar faces on the other team will be a distraction.
“You have fun before the game,” Clark said. “You hug them up and wish them well, and then you go about your business.”
First pitch of the series will take place Friday night in San Marcos. The second game will take place at Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin on Saturday afternoon.