Texas State softball (39-14 overall, 17-6 Sun Belt) was eliminated from the NCAA Regionals after suffering two consecutive shutouts to the University of Texas Longhorns 6-0 and the University of Oregon Ducks 2-0 on May 22.
The Bobcats came into the UT matchup after upsetting Oregon 5-1 the day before while the Longhorns (41-11 overall, 12-6 Big 12) shut out St. Francis University 12-0 in five innings.
Due to inclement weather, the game's 1 p.m. start time was delayed three hours to 4:05 p.m.
The Longhorns were first to score at the top of the second as a Bobcats' fielding error allowed sophomore infielder McKenzie Parker to run home. UT increased its lead to 3-0 at the top of the third as junior infielder Janae Jefferson scored on a passed ball followed by a sac fly from junior catcher/utility Taylor Ellsworth.
Texas State only managed two hits in the first four innings. The Bobcats had an opportunity to score in the bottom of the fifth with bases loaded and one out, but freshman infielder Baylee Lemons and freshman utility Hannah Earls both struck out, leaving three runners stranded.
UT responded at the top of the sixth with a two-run home run from Parker, bringing the score 5-0. Later in the frame, Texas State senior pitcher Dalilah Barrera walked a runner with the bases loaded giving the Longhorns another unearned run, bringing the score 6-0.
The Bobcats went down in order in the bottom of the sixth and seventh innings, giving them their first shutout loss since April 18.
With the loss, Texas State would play Oregon (39-16 overall, 14-10 Pac 12) in an elimination game at 9:42 p.m. that night, with the winner moving on to the Regional Finals.
Unlike the first game against each other on May 21, where the Bobcats were dominant in the box, the rematch was a pitching extravaganza by Oregon's junior pitcher Brooke Yanez.
Yanez did not allow a base hit in the first inning as she nabbed a pair of strikeouts. Oregon got on the board in the top of the second as freshman outfielder Deijah Pangilinan hit an RBI single. Freshman infielder Hanna Delgado scored immediately after a Texas State throwing error, moving the score up 2-0.
That was all the scoring the Ducks needed as Yanez kept the Bobcats at bay the entire game. She finished with the win, allowing four base hits and 14 strikeouts.
Texas State Head Coach Ricci Woodard credits Yanez's play as the main difference compared to the team's first game against Oregon.
"I thought that Yanez did a really good job in the circle tonight," Woodard says. "I thought she controlled the plate and last night we controlled the plate."
Now with the season behind them, the Bobcats will move on without six seniors. Woodard says the team will now need to find a new identity but reflects on the season fondly.
"It was fun," Woodard says. "Anytime you can go out and put together a season like this, it's fun. You can always sit back and look at the things that could have and would have and wished, but when you get to finish your season at this spot, you try to stick with the positives."