Shannon Rhodes is returning to the Lone Star State.
But when it comes to Oregon softball players transferring to Texas, Rhodes isn’t alone.
Texas coach Mike White, who left the Ducks after leading the program to five Pac-12 championships and five Women’s College World Series appearances over nine seasons, announced Tuesday that Rhodes had officially joined the Longhorns.
Miranda Elish and Lauren Burke had previously transferred to Texas during Oregon’s coaching transition to Melyssa Lombardi.
“We are very excited to announce the addition of Shannon Rhodes to our Texas roster,” White said in a news release. “Shannon is a true five-tool athlete, and it will be fun to watch her contribute both offensively and defensively for the Longhorns over the next couple of seasons.”
In addition to the three players Oregon lost to Texas, projected starting catcher Mary Iakopo and freshman Alyssa Pinto have also left the Ducks since White’s departure.
Rhodes, a decorated high school star from Fort Worth, Texas, who attended Lombardi’s introductory press conference and participated in the fall schedule, hit .347 with 11 home runs and 42 RBIs as a sophomore.
Elish posted a 37-2 record with a 1.42 earned-run average over the past two seasons at Oregon. As a sophomore, the former No. 1 overall high school recruit threw a perfect game against Portland State and pitched two games in the Women’s College World Series.
Burke, a prep all-American at Marist High, batted .351 with three home runs and 17 RBIs in 36 games as a true freshman. She had pinch-hit home runs against Albany and Drake during the NCAA Regional at Jane Sanders Stadium.
“Change is hard and it takes time for change, and I understand that,” Lombardi said during a recent interview. “The athletes that have decided to move on, I wish them the best and want them to be happy with what they do.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am about this team and what we’ve been doing all fall to prepare for the spring. I think our fans are going to be thrilled to see what we’re going to put out there.”
Oregon still has a lot of arm talent with the return of Pac-12 pitcher of the year Megan Kleist and a healthy Maggie Balint. Lombardi also added lefty Jordan Dail, a Virginia Tech transfer who had 116 strikeouts last season as a freshman, to the staff.
Seniors April Utecht, Alex Mack and Cherish Burks and juniors Mia Camuso and Haley Cruse also bring Pac-12 championship experience to the lineup.
“We’re going for it,” Lombardi said. “I believe in this team, I believe in this program, and the expectation hasn’t changed. The expectations are high, the expectations that these athletes have are extremely high.”
Oregon went 8-0 and outscored the opposition 114-2 during the fall exhibition campaign. Lombardi’s first season begins at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz., on Feb. 8.