The Longhorns trailed Texas A&M 3-2 in the seventh inning Wednesday but rallied and came up with a 4-3 win, as Mandy Ogle crossed the plate on a wild pitch to end the game.
Texas was down 3-2 going into the bottom of the seventh inning when junior Lexy Bennett stepped up to the plate as the leadoff hitter. Her goal was to get on base, but she accomplished much more. On the third pitch from the Aggie starter Melissa Dumezich, Bennett crushed the pitch out of the park slightly to the left of the scoreboard in center field. Bennett, who has been the face of the Texas offense for the past few weeks, tied the ball game with her solo homerun and allowed the Longhorns to breathe a bit easier.
“Playing the Aggies is always fun and it’s always intense,” said junior Nadia Taylor. “It comes down to the bottom of the seventh, and we came up big and Lexy came up clutch.”
It was a normal rivalry game on Wednesday night for the Longhorns and the Aggies in the annual State Farm Lone Star Showdown, which is to say it was a game of abnormalities. Sophomore starring pitcher Blaire Luna gave up six walks while fanning 11 in the 6.2 innings she was in the circle. Freshman Rachel Fox came in during the top of the seventh inning and was credited with the win after having only pitched two thirds of an inning. It was one of the first times this season that Luna was pulled for underperformance. Despite this, Texas head coach Connie Clark insists that it was a good night with a lot of growth for her young pitching staff.
“It was a tight win but it was a good growth piece for us to have to bring Fox out of the bullpen,” said Clark. “Mostly Luna and Fox have had complete games, and we wanted to throw a little differently.”
The Texas pitching rotation wasn’t the only part that had to fight a tough battle. The Longhorn offense played catch-up during the entire game and was able to scratch out a win in the bottom of the seventh inning. For a team who has mercy ruled a majority of their recent opponents, a night with only four runs off of seven hits is considered a slow night. Bennett led the offense and went 3-for-4 and accounted for two runs individually and an additional RBI. Freshman Mandy Ogle and sophomore Torie Schmidt accounted for the other two Texas scores. A wild pitch by the Aggie pitcher brought Ogle as the pinch runner home for the go-ahead point and allowed the Longhorns to walk off the field with the tight win.
“We are going to take it one game at a time,” Clark said. “Any time you can scratch out a win, it is going to be important in this conference.”
After a tough game, Texas kept their win streak alive and will head into the weekend series against Nebraska this weekend having won their last 16 games. The Longhorns remain undefeated in the Big 12 and improved to 32-3 on the season.