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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Softball

Trip to the Capitol: Cougars and Longhorns meet on the field


The Cougars are in the middle of a five-game non-conference string of games against McNeese, Texas, and Lamar. | File Photo/The Cougar

The Cougars (16-14) will take on the University of Texas Longhorns (18-14) at 1 p.m. Sunday in Austin, the first game of a doubleheader.

These games may be a good indicator of whether the Cougars can rebound from their loss against McNeese in a hard-fought defensive match on Wednesday.

The Cougars won their series last weekend against the University of Central Florida Knights. They dropped the first game before rallying to win the next two contests, taking the series.

Sophomore pitcher Savannah Heebner (7-5, 2.41 ERA) and freshman pitcher Trystan Melancon (7-5, 2.45 ERA) continue to lead the Cougars in the circle. During their five-game winning streak earlier in the month, the pitching rotation dominated opposing offenses, throwing five consecutive shutouts, placing the Cougars third in the conference in terms of ERA (2.73).

Meanwhile, the bats of sophomore outfielder Maya Thomas (.463 batting average), freshman utility fielder Arielle James (.391 batting average) and senior pitcher/utility fielder Shelby Miller (.364 batting average) continue to fuel the high-powered offense.

On the Longhorns side, Oklahoma State swept them last weekend in their first conference series of the year. On Wednesday, the Longhorns rebounded and dominated UTSA 9-1.

The star for the Longhorns squad in recent games has been freshman catcher Taylor Ellsworth, who went for a perfect 5-5 at the plate in the series finale against Oklahoma State, tying Texas’ record for on-base hits in a single game. Since Texas’ loss to Arizona, Ellsworth has batted 21-31 (.677) and has reached base in 25 of her 35 plate appearances.

If Houston plans to best Texas, the Cougars will have to find a way to keep Ellsworth’s contribution to a minimum.

The game will take place at Red & Charline McCombs Field and will be broadcasted on the Longhorn Network. The first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT.

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