Texas softball releases challenging 2018 spring schedule
Longhorns are set to play 25 total games against 14 teams that reached the 2017 NCAA Field of 64
AUSTIN, Texas – Coming off the program’s 13th straight bid to the NCAA Tournament, after earning a spot in the championship round of the 2017 College Station Regional, the Texas softball program and head coach Connie Clark are pleased to announce their challenging 2018 spring schedule.
Official game times and TV designations will be released at a later date.
Along the way, the Longhorns will face off against four of last season’s Women’s College World Series participants in defending national champion Oklahoma, national semifinalists Washington and Oregon as well as Big 12 rival Baylor.
UT will battle six NCAA Super Regional qualifiers (Oklahoma, Washington, Oregon, Baylor, Arizona and Mississippi) and will contest 25 total games against 14 squads that earned bids to the NCAA Field of 64 (Oklahoma, Washington, Oregon, Baylor, Arizona, Mississippi, Oklahoma State, Texas Southern, Texas State, Ohio State, Jacksonville State, Wisconsin, Michigan and South Carolina).
During its scheduled 54-game regular-season slate, the Burnt Orange & White will be forced to leave the “Lone Star State” just four times for 16 combined contests. Included is the Texas softball program’s first-ever trip to play outside the United States to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, from Feb. 15-17. Other road trips out of state include jaunts (March 13-18) to Columbia, Conway and Charleston, S.C., on UT’s annual “Spring Break Trip,” and league visits to both Ames, Iowa (March 29-31), and Norman, Okla. (April 27-29).
The 2018 campaign kicks off at Red & Charline McCombs Field as the Longhorns host the Texas Classic (Feb. 9-11) against Incarnate Word, Wisconsin and Colorado State.
The initial road trip of the season takes the Longhorns outside the United States for the first time in program history to play in the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. During the three-day event over Feb. 15-17, Texas will face a difficult slate against Rutgers, Mississippi, Oregon and Houston.
A return to the U.S. sees the Burnt Orange & White battle WCWS semifinalist Washington in a high-profile, home mid-week match-up on Feb. 21, before hosting Michigan, Wichita State, Virginia Tech and Ohio State for the annual Texas Invitational (Feb. 23-25).
Following a mid-week home game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Feb. 28), the Horns christen the month of March by welcoming 2017 NCAA Super Regional qualifier Arizona to Red & Charline McCombs Field for a three-game series (March 2-4).
After a quick jaunt down I-35 to play at UTSA (March 7), UT ventures out on its annual “Spring Break Trip” to play at South Carolina (March 13), Coastal Carolina (March 15) and at College of Charleston (four-game tournament over March 16-18 against Eastern Illinois, Jacksonville State, College of Charleston and Georgetown).
Returning to Austin, the Longhorns will welcome in Texas State (March 21) before kicking-off the rugged Big 12 Conference schedule at home with three games against Kansas (March 23-25).
Additional league home series at McCombs Field during the 2018 campaign will include visits from Texas Tech (April 13-15), WCWS qualifier Baylor (April 17 – first game of a split three-game series) and Oklahoma State (April 20-22).
UT will travel within the Big 12 to Iowa State (March 29-31), two-time defending national champion Oklahoma (April 27-29) and Baylor (May 5-6 – final two games of a split three-game series).
Several additional out-of-conference match-ups are also on the docket over the remainder of the regular season.
Included are home tilts against Stephen F. Austin (March 27), UTSA (April 4), Samford (three-game series over April 7-8), Texas Southern (April 25) and Incarnate Word (May 2) as well as single road contests at Houston (April 3) and Texas State (April 11).
The postseason begins at the annual Big 12 Tournament at the USA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Okla., over May 11-12.
The NCAA Tournament schedule gets underway at campus sites over May 18-20 with NCAA Regionals and follows with the best-of-three NCAA Super Regionals over May 24-27. The annual Women’s College World Series at the USA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Okla., is scheduled to be contested from May 31-June 5/6.
Texas is returning seven players that started at least 18 games (six started at least 26) and 12 letter winners for the upcoming 2018 campaign that combined to total 43% of the runs, hits and doubles, 54% of both the triples and HR’s and 52% of the RBIs as well as four pitchers that managed 76% of the pitching victories and 70% of both the innings pitched and strikeouts.
Included among the returnees are NFCA First-Team All-Central Region and first-team All-Big 12 sophomore catcher Taylor Ellsworth (.394 avg., 52 hits, six doubles, three HR’s, 24 RBIs, 11 base runners caught stealing in 2017), power-hitting junior outfielder Reagan Hathaway (.253 avg., 10 extra-base hits, 18 RBIs), redshirt junior pitcher Erica Wright (8-7 record, 1.63 ERA, seven complete games, 102 strikeouts, 116 innings pitched), senior catcher Randel Leahy (.281 avg., nine doubles, 24 RBIs), senior pitcher/designated player Paige von Sprecken (7-6 record, 2.19 ERA, 62 strikeouts, 76.2 innings pitched), 2017 Big 12 All-Freshman sophomore outfielder Kaitlyn Washington (.253 avg., 11 doubles, 16 RBIs), sophomore outfielder Tuesday DerMargosian (.301 avg., 12 runs scored, seven RBIs), junior designated player/outfielder Bekah Alcozer (.253 avg., team-high six HR’s, 24 RBIs) and junior pitcher Brooke Bolinger (7-2 record, 2.50 ERA, 34 strikeouts, 61.2 innings pitched).
The Longhorns have also added a standout class of four freshmen and two transfers to the mix including: second-team 2017 NFCA High School All-South Central Region selection Ariana Adams (RHP/Magnolia, Texas/Magnolia West/Scrap Yard Dawgs), Janae Jefferson (OF/Humble, Texas/Nimitz Senior/Texas Aces Express Gold), Chloe Romero (RHP/Helendale, Calif./Academy of Careers & Exploration/California Cruisers), NFCA Second-Team High School All-American Mary Katherine (MK) Tedder (IF/Hoover, Ala./Spain Park/Birmingham Thunderbolts), junior transfer and 2017 NJCAA Division I All-American Ki’Audra (Kay Kay) Hayter (IF-OF/Nacogdoches, Texas/Garrison/Butler Community College) and junior infielder transfer Ciera Schick (IF/Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Los Osos/Arizona State-2016).
Source- University of Texas Athletics