Erin Shireman, a sophomore catcher/third baseman, is perhaps the most interesting player on head coach Connie Clark’s team.
Shireman embodies the role of a student-athlete, currently pursuing a degree in aerospace engineering and continuing her family’s legacy.
“I have grown up with [aerospace engineering] my entire life,” Shireman said. “My parents got me into it at a young age, especially being from Houston. My dad works at NASA, so I have always been in that atmosphere and learned a lot from him. I have recently started flying, and that has kind of changed my mind, or given me a tough decision, as whether to go with space or atmospheric in the future.”
Shireman hopes her degree will be a launching pad for her ultimate goal of being an astronaut.
“I still want to be an astronaut, but I am being realistic that it may not happen,” Shireman said. “But now, having gotten my pilot’s license, I am really enjoying the atmospheric part of it. My parents keep me intrigued with that, and we go on family flying trips all the time.”
Many student-athletes view sports as their ultimate career destinations, often emphasizing their roles as athletes over being students. But when asked to choose which accomplishment she was most proud of, Shireman was stuck in the middle.
“That is a tough question because they are both a big part of my life, and so if I say I am more proud of one, I am kind of letting down the other part of me,” Shireman said. “I am proud of everything. Softball has given me the opportunity to come to UT and do the school aspect and then school will help me later on in the future, so they are pretty evenly balanced.”
Shireman and her teammates have had an up-and-down season thus far, but she has a concise summary for what has happened so far.
“Entertaining,” Shireman said. “There is never a dull moment when you have 19 girls on a team, and even when things are going rough we are always picking each other up and during the good times it is just easy, breezy rolling.”
The Longhorns made it to the semifinals of the College World Series last year and hope to reach similar heights this season despite their relative youth.
“We have had a lot of games where we have lost by one run, or they have been really close games,” Smith said. “If we can just work on finishing that or getting ahead that will be the key to getting us back to the College World Series.”