AUSTIN, Texas — Center fielder Shannon Rhodes drilled two home runs and drove in five runs to lead the No. 7 Texas softball team to an 8-7 win over RV/25 Mississippi State at the Lone Star Invitational at Red & Charlene McCombs Field.
The victory, UT’s fifth straight and sixth in the last seven against teams ranked in either the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) or USA Softball poll, improved the Longhorns’ record to 6-0 for the third time in as many seasons under head coach Mike White, while Mississippi State fell to 7-3.
Rhodes became the first Texas player to hit two home runs in a game since Lauren Burke achieved the feat March 7, 2020. Her two long balls are a new career high, and her five RBI match the career standard she set while playing at the University of Oregon.
Shea O’Leary (2-0) picked up the win for the Longhorns, but stumbled at the start, when she allowed a solo home run in the first inning to Mississippi State catcher Mia Davidson. But the Horns responded in the bottom of the first when Rhodes scored second baseman Janae Jefferson with a two-run home run off Mississippi State starter Alyssa Loza, and third baseman Mary Iakopo added a solo shot; for Iakopo, it was her third homer in as many games, marking the second time in her career she has gone deep in back-to-back-to-back games.
In the third, Burke, playing first base, drove in left fielder Kaitlyn Washington on an RBI double, and then scored on a single to right-center field by shortstop Alyssa Washington. Rhodes then clubbed her second home run of the day, a three-run shot to center field, to give UT a 8-1 lead.
Mississippi State rallied with six runs, on five hits, including four RBI singles, and a Burke throwing error in the top of the fourth inning.
O’Leary survived the inning and pitched a scoreless fifth before giving way to reliever Molly Jacobsen, who picked up her first save for Texas after transferring from Ole Miss.
Texas hosts Connecticut at 10 a.m. Sunday in a game that can be seen on Longhorn Network.
Three of the six runs scored against O’Leary were earned. She scattered eight hits and struck out five, without allowing a walk. Jacobsen allowed an earned run while surrendering two hits, walking one and striking out one.