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Monday, September 26, 2022

Softball

Shrum’s two-way play powering the Cougars


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Leading the team with 10 home runs and nine wins, junior pitcher Julana Shrum has set the Cougars up with a consistent force on both sides of the ball. | Sarah Hoffman/The Cougar

Leading a Division I team in both pitching and hitting at a high level is difficult for the best players, but that’s exactly what junior pitcher Julana Shrum has done for the Cougars this season.

Shrum’s ability to hit the long ball while also pitching well for the Cougars has been a major factor their success.

“I still try to focus on the same things,” she said. “I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself, I just think one game at a time. If you focus on the little things, good things will happen.”

Born in Muskogee, Okla., Shrum was a multi-sport athlete, lettering in both softball and basketball and being named to the all-state team in softball and all-conference team in basketball her senior year.

In 2013, her freshman year, Shrum provided depth for the Cougars, appearing in 10 games as a pitcher and finishing with a 3-2 record including two shutout innings in the Austin Regional against South Carolina. She hinted towards the power she would bring to the lineup, getting her first homerun as a Cougar in a pinch-hit appearance against Illinois.

Shrum built upon that strong foundation through her sophomore season, appearing in 33 games for the Cougars. She started in 20 and picked up 10 wins in 134.2 innings, with her best performance coming against No. 12 Baylor when she threw seven no-hit innings before taking the 3-0 loss in extras after giving up only three hits.

“I think her improvement is all due to her, that kid is such a competitor and works hard and really wants to be the best every day,” head coach Kyla Holas said. “She’s going to fight and work hard for you, and no one wants to win as much as her, and that’s easy to play behind.

Coming into this season, Shrum knew through 44 games she is leading the Cougars in all major pitching categories while also topping the Cougar offense with 10 homeruns and a .734 slugging percentage.

“This year has been tough, and we asked a lot of her on the mound,” Holas said. “We asked her to be our number 1”

From the mound, Shrum has been a solid threat with an 9-9 record and a 3.26 ERA, with 55 strikeouts in 109.2 innings through 26 appearances and 15 starts, all team-highs.

“She’s such a great complement, and she’s got such nasty stuff when she’s able really to settle in a little bit,” Holas said. “That’s why I think she’s turned on a bit in the end again.”

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