411 on the Forty: Texas Track and Field’s Daniels a semifinalist for Sullivan Award

Former Texas sprinter Teahna Daniels has been nominated for the James E. Sullivan Award, which is given annually to the nation's premier amateur athlete (photo courtesy of texassports.com).

By Riley Zayas

Daniels named semifinalist for 2020 AAU James E. Sullivan Award
Former Texas sprinter Teahna Daniels’ was named a semifinalist for the 2020 AAU James E. Sullivan award, an honor given annually to the nation’s best amatuer athlete. One of her top performances of this past year was a win in the 100-meter dash at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships last summer, after she had been named an All-America in the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. She was dubbed “Fastest Woman in America” after she won the American national championship in the 100 meters. Fans can vote for Daniels by clicking here:

Reese speaks out on Coronavirus, impact on Texas Athletics
Although no cases of coronavirus have been reported in Austin, there is a chance of canceling huge events (UT announced Wednesday that athletic events will be played without fans in attendance, at least through March 22). Two teams that could be affected men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, which head to the NCAA Championship meet in Indianapolis in 14 days. While it is still up in the air, men’s head coach Eddie Reese said he feels that if given the opportunity, his team has the talent to compete with the best.

“We’ve got a very good team,” said Reese. “We haven’t reaped the rewards of the hard training, we haven’t tried to go ‘all-out,’ and we’re trying to go ‘all-out,’ so we would love that opportunity [at the NCAA Championship].”

Reese said that he “wasn’t worried” about the possibility of a cancelation, and hinted at the idea that if the NCAA Championship is canceled, the program would try to host a meet at UT’s home pool, the Lee and Joe Jamail Swimming Center, even without an NCAA title on the line.

“If they were to cancel, we don’t know what we’d do,” Reese said, “maybe try to have a meet in our own pool. We may have to invent something that we just do on our own. It’s real difficult to go a whole season and not see how much better you’ve gotten, because for swimmers, that’s pretty much the main thing.”

The list of events that will be impacted by the decision to compete without fans in attendance includes a three-game weekend baseball series against New Mexico this weekend, and a Tuesday a game against Incarnate Word. Softball plays all road games up until that point. The Texas Relays are still on as of Wednesday, and additional updates are expected to be released by Texas in the days and weeks ahead.

Softball goes 4-0 in Longhorn Invitational
Preseason All-America Miranda Elish threw a perfect game and the Texas softball team rolled to four more victories this past weekend at the Longhorn Invitational. The four victories brought the Longhorns’ record up to 24-3 on the season.

Elish’s perfect game was the highlight of the weekend classic, a 7-0 win over New Mexico Sunday morning. Her performance was the 11th time in school history that a Texas pitcher has thrown a perfect game. More impressively, as rare as perfect games are, this was Elish’s second perfect game of her college career, but first as a Longhorn; she also threw one in 2018 while playing for Oregon.

Elish’s performance was nearly squandered, as New Mexico’s Taylor Jones hit a line drive to center field in the sixth, and it almost dropped for a single. But center fielder Tuesday DerMargosian read it well and was able to get under it for the out.

In UT’s first game of the classic, the Horns faced Liberty Friday afternoon, in a game decided by pitching. Texas won, 2-0, with both runs coming in the fourth inning. Liberty’s starting pitcher, Karlie Keeney, and Elish both threw complete games, with Elish allowing just four hits and striking out four.

The Longhorns returned to the Forty less than 24 hours later for a duel with Texas Southern, a game in which Texas put up five runs in the first two innings and ultimately won, 13-5, in six innings. After a scoreless first, Texas Southern had five cross the plate in the second to take its first and only lead of the ballgame. However, the Horns roared back, starting with a Mary Iakopo homer to left to lead off the second inning. Texas totaled 16 hits in the high-scoring contest.

After a key morning win, Texas returned to Red & Charline McCombs Field to battle Liberty for the second time in two days. What resulted was another Texas shutout in a 3-0 victory. A strong start proved to be key, as two runs were pushed across the plate in the second, one coming on a Shannon Rhodes groundout that scored Iakopo, and the second on a Taylor Ellsworth single that brought Kaitlyn Washington home. Pitcher Shealyn O’Leary earned her sixth consecutive win of the season.

UT closed out the Classic with Elish’s perfect game against New Mexico in the 7-0 win

Horns Illustrated Game Ball: Janae Jefferson: Not only does Jefferson win our weekly game ball, but also the Big 12 Player of the Week Award. The junior second baseman hit .750 for the week, and added two three-hit games against Liberty and New Mexico. Plus, she had three stolen bases, a career high, against Texas Southern.

Baseball wins all four games
The baseball team bounced back from a two-loss weekend two weeks ago to sweep three games from Cal State Fullerton this past weekend.

The Horns dominated the Titans in the first game, rolling to a 6-1 victory. Cal State Fullerton took a 1-0 lead heading into the seventh, until Texas went on a seven-run tear, beginning with an Eric Kennedy double that scored both Trey Faltine and Zach Zubia. DJ Petrinsky also swatted a two-run homer that same inning. On the mound, Bryce Elder threw 6.2 innings, striking out five.

Texas squeezed out a 4-3 win in the second game, putting up three in the second inning. It was an especially good outing for Texas pitchers, four of whom combined for 10 strikeouts. Murphy Stehly, Eric Kennedy and Trey Faltine each had two hits to lead the offense, and Faltine and Kennedy each scored a run as well.

In the series finale Sunday afternoon, the Horns won an 8-4 battle in which Andre Duplantier earned his second save of the series. The freshman has turned into head coach David Pierce’s main closer after totaling three saves on the season. Starting pitcher Pete Hansen earned his second straight win of the season, Once again, it was Faltine at the plate, as he doubled to left, scoring Austin Todd. Todd would be responsible for another run in the second, when he pulled a pitch to left for a two-run homer. Peyton Powell hit the Horns’ second home run of the ballgame later on in the sixth. Todd went 3-for-4 with two runs batted in.

UFCU Disch-Falk was was the home of another Texas victory Wednesday, as the Longhorns crushed the Abilene Christian Wildcats 9-1, for their fourth straight win. Walks proved to be the difference, as Texas drew 12. Seven hits helped things offensively for the Longhorns, as they put up runs in the first four innings. Starting at third in the absence of regular starter Cam Williams, who is out for the next three to four weeks, was Lance Ford. Ford made the most of his opportunity as he reached base on a walk. In addition, Stehly had two hits and three RBI while Silas Ardoin scored two runs.

Horns Illustrated Game Ball: Austin Todd, who has been terrific at the plate all season, and proved that this past week, with at least one hit and one RBI in all four games, including a three-hit, three-run performance Sunday against Cal State Fullerton. He also had five RBI on the week.

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