#8 Texas Softball 2021 Preview

Texas Longhorns
Overall Rank: #8
Conference Rank: #2 Big 12
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Texas quickly bought into head coach Mike White and his staff in year one in 2019. The Longhorns won 46 games and advanced to the Tuscaloosa Super Regional where they took Alabama to the brink in an entertaining three game series. The progress by Texas was very swift and encouraging for a fan base that has high expectations for Coach White. The expectations for the program are for it to evolve into a perennial Women’s College World Series contender like White had at the University of Oregon.
2019: 46-17. 12-6
2019 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mike White
Key Departed Players:
Brooke Bolinger, P, 4.01 ERA, 2-1 W/L, 22.2 IP, 9 BB, 26 SO
Miranda Elish, P, .315 BA, 6 HR, 27 RBI, 1.81 ERA, 18-10 W/L, 185.1 IP, 52 BB, 226 SO
Reagan Hathaway, OF, .309 BA, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 8 SB
Key Returning Players:
Janae Jefferson, INF, .408 BA, 0 HR, 23 RBI, 10 SB
Mary Iakopo, C, .356 BA, 11 HR, 43 RBI
Lauren Burke, UTIL, .300 BA, 2 HR, 35 RBI
Kaitlyn Washington, INF/OF, .297 BA 4 HR, 36 RBI
Shannon Rhodes, OF, .278 BA, 8 HR, 37 RBI, 8 SB
Shealyn O’Leary, P, 0.65 ERA, 14-3 W/L, 97.2 IP, 14 BB, 65 SO
This is going to be a very experienced team returning to the field in 2021 for Coach White and his staff. Janae Jefferson is an excellent contact hitter as she hit .408, drove in 23 runs, and stole ten bases in 2019. Mary Iakopo does a great job of handling pitchers as the catcher and can hit for a high average and plenty of power to lead the Texas lineup. Lauren Burke, Kaitlyn Washington, and Shannon Rhodes will bring a balanced mix of hitting for average and some power combined with timely speed. Colleen Sullivan transferred over from UCLA and she hit .239 with five homeruns for the Bruins in 2019. Sheayn O’ Leary will be the ace of the staff this season. She is very good at limiting walks and forcing hitters to earn everything they get during each at bat. Courtney Day and Ariana Adams will need to develop into solid secondary options in the circle. As usual, Oklahoma will be the biggest obstacle in the Longhorns way in the Big 12 race. Overall, look for the Longhorns to win another 45 plus games and make a deep postseason run in 2020.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament