AUSTIN, Texas – Longhorn Network is slated to televise 25 of 26 Texas regular-season home softball games and 35 total contests from Red & Charline McCombs Field, including all 20 combined match-ups either live on via tape delay from the Texas Classic (Feb. 10-12) and Texas Invitational (Feb. 16-19), during the upcoming 2017 campaign.
FOX Sports Net, as part of the Big 12 Conference's television package, will televise Texas' remaining home contest against Baylor on Sat., May 6, at 1 p.m. CT.
LHN coverage will begin on Fri., Feb. 10, during the opening day of the season-opening Texas Classic. The exclusive 24/7 home of the Longhorns will televise four softball tilts on that Friday, starting with neutral contests matching Maryland vs. Minnesota (11:30 a.m. CT) and Colorado State vs. Maryland (2 p.m. CT) and including Texas' initial two games of the campaign against Colorado State (4:30 p.m. CT) and Minnesota (7 p.m. CT).
The Burnt Orange & White are coming off a 2016 campaign that included 38 victories and a 12th consecutive NCAA Tournament bid with a visit to the Lafayette Regional.
Entering the 2017 season, Texas is "receiving votes" in both the USA TODAY/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) and ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason top 25 polls and was tabbed to finish second in the Big 12 Conference regular-season race via a vote of the league's coaches.
Texas is returning five everyday positional starters and 13 letter winners that combined to total 60% of the runs, 64% of the hits, 57% of the doubles, 55% of the HR's and 65% of the RBIs from last season's squad. UT will also be bringing back all three starting pitchers from last year and is returning sophomore right-hander Erica Wright, who redshirted during the 2016 campaign because of an injury.
Included among the returnees are 2016 NFCA All-Central Region choices in senior third baseman Celina Felix (.358 avg., 62 hits, 17 extra-base hits, 39 RBIs) and senior first baseman Kelli Hanzel (.298 avg., 31 hits, five HR's, 19 RBIs). Also back for the Longhorns are 2016 All-Big 12 First Team senior pitcher Tiarra Davis (23-11, 1.97 ERA, 24 complete games, six shutouts, 213.0 IP, 186 strikeouts), power-hitting sophomore outfielder Reagan Hathaway (.309 avg., 38 hits, 12 extra-base hits, 30 RBIs), experienced senior standouts in outfielder Stephanie Wong (2015 NFCA All-Central Region choice; 11 stolen bases, 21 runs scored, 18 walks, 14 RBIs in 2016) and shortstop Devon Tunning (2015 All-Big 12 Conference; 29 runs scored, six doubles, 22 walks, 11 RBIs in 2016), junior catcher Randel Leahy (2015 All-Big 12 Freshman Team) and junior pitcher/designated player Paige von Sprecken (11-3 record, 2.91 ERA, eight complete games, three shutouts, 61 K's, 98.2 innings pitched; .417 batting avg., seven extra-base hits, 17 RBIs). Wright earned a NFCA All-Central Region laurel as a freshman by going 18-9 with a 2.42 ERA and 178 strikeouts over 170.2 innings in 2015.
About Longhorn Network
ESPN has a 20-year agreement to own and operate a year-round, 24-hour network dedicated to Texas Athletics in partnership with UT and IMG College. Longhorn Network offers a variety of content, highlighted by more than 175 exclusive events annually from 20 sports, original series and studio shows, historical programming and academic and cultural happenings.
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