After a nine-game winning streak, including three wins against No. 22 Kansas, Texas dropped three straight to Oklahoma at the Red and Charline McCombs Field over the course of the weekend.
In the softball edition of the Red River Rivalry, the Sooners entered the matchup with a 28–24 advantage, but the Longhorns were hopeful they could produce.
“We’re just going to try and go and attack them and see what we can do,” freshman pitcher Erica Wright said before the series. “They are a really good team obviously, but we’re a good team too.”
No. 5 Oklahoma (36–5, 9–0 Big 12) showed Texas (27–12, 3–3 Big 12) early how they had managed a 6–0 conference record and stayed at the top of the Big 12. Much of Oklahoma’s success arose thanks to freshman pitcher Paige Parker, who gave the Longhorns trouble all weekend. Parker earned two wins as she pitched 16 innings, struck out 21 batters and allowed just six hits and no runs.
In the first inning of the first game, Oklahoma senior first baseman Lauren Chamberlain led off with a double. Shortly after, senior shortstop Shelby Pendley brought her in on a two-run shot to give the Sooners a quick 2–0 lead. Texas sophomore shortstop Devon Tunning reached on an infield single in the bottom of the inning to improve her on-base streak to 22 games. But the next three batters went down, and the Longhorns left her there until the end of the inning.
The Longhorns provided a few reasons for optimism through the rest of the game, including a run-saving tag by junior catcher Erin Shireman in the third, another single for Tunning and a hit for junior outfielder Lindsey Stephens. But at the end of play, none rounded the bases, and the Longhorns lost, 8–0 — their biggest deficit of the season.
“We have to stay focused on ourselves and stay in attack mode,” head coach Connie Clark said.
And the Longhorns did that — for a little while, at least — in the next game.
In the second game of Friday’s doubleheader, the Longhorns jumped to a quick 1–0 lead on Stephens’ 13th home run of the season. With an offensive advantage, senior Gabby Smith stayed strong at the mound and retired the first 12 to keep Texas in the lead through four.
But in the top of the fifth, the Sooners quickly took over. Chamberlain hit one out of the park to tie up the score. Before the end of the inning, the Sooners scored another run off a hit by pitch with the bases loaded, putting them up one.
Down 3–1 after another Oklahoma run in the sixth, sophomore pinch hitter Mickenzi Krpec jumped on base from a single and advanced on an error to second. Unfortunately, the swing stopped there and three consecutive outs stranded Krpec on second for the remainder of play.
“They have a quality program and have quality athletes. We have a quality program, and we have quality athletes,” Clark said. “It really comes down to execution, making the pitch and competing well.”
The final contest failed to result in execution, as Parker held the Longhorns scoreless in seven innings of play. On Saturday, the Longhorns drew more walks than they had hits, as they had four walks and only two hits. When the last pitch had been thrown, the scoreboard read 4–0 in the Sooners’ favor.
The Longhorns play UT-Arlington on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at McCombs field.