This weekend may be the end of an era. At the conclusion of the 2011 season, Nebraska parts ways with the Big 12 conference in order to join the Big Ten. That means this weekend’s series in Lincoln may be the last time that the Longhorns face the Cornhuskers.
“I think it will be a great opportunity to finish those guys off,” said Texas third baseman Nadia Taylor.
On Saturday, No. 5 Texas (32-3, 5-0 Big 12) faces the 11th-ranked Cornhuskers (30-4, 3-1) in the first of a two-game series. The Longhorns enter weekend on a 16-game winning streak after Wednesday’s dramatic 4-3 win over Texas A&M.
In addition to the team’s win streak, several Longhorns are being recognized across the country for their strong performances so far this season. Last week, junior first baseman Lexy Bennett was named the Big 12 player of the week for her performance in games against Texas State and Oklahoma State. Through three contests, Bennett averaged .636 with seven hits, eight RBI, six individual runs scored and a home run in each game. In addition to this honor, she leads, or ties for the lead, the league in batting average, runs, hits and home runs for the season.
“Lexy is probably our most consistent performer on both sides of the ball,” said Texas head coach Connie Clark. “I think she is about as hot as anybody in the country, and she has been for the last three weeks.”
Sophomore right fielder Taylor Hoagland was also recognized this week. She accepted an invitation on Wednesday to try out for the USA National Softball team in June at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in California. Hoagland will join teammate and All-American hurler Blaire Luna, who accepted her own invitation to the national team selection camp a few weeks ago.
Nebraska is on a streak of its own, having won three straight, including a sweep of Kansas.
The Longhorns are coming off of a hard-fought victory of their own against Texas A&M. The Aggies took the Longhorns through seven innings of work, pressuring the Texas defense and offense. Clark believes the challenging A&M game was good preparation for
“Nebraska is tough, and they’re having a great year,” Clark said. ”They’re wanting to go out on a bang in their last year in the Big 12, but I think we’ve got a good game plan.”