Home runs pace Longhorns as team rides past Mavericks

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The Longhorns came out fast against UT-Arlington, putting up six runs in the first inning on their way to another run rule-shortened game.

Freshman Brejae Washington got the fireworks started for Texas on a solo home run to center that just snuck over the wall. The homer was the first of her collegiate career and was a different side of Washington, who is usually just a speedster for the team.

“Her riseball got up there just flat enough for me to get my hands up and pop it out. I was just looking for a base hit,” Washington said. “I didn’t even know it was going out until I had rounded first and was on my way to second. At best, I figured I might get a triple out of it. When I finally saw that it was going over, I was so excited.”

Following the Washington power display and a Taylor Thom walk, senior Amy Hooks stepped up to the plate and delivered a two-run dinger of her own.

The Longhorns weren’t done for the inning. After a pair of walks from Nadia Taylor and Torie Schmidt, junior Courtney Craig came to the plate and capped the inning off with a three-run shot of her own.

“For us to come out strong in the first inning like that got us some excitement and put us on our toes, and from there we didn’t want to get to content with that,” Washington said. “We just want to put the bat on the ball, and that’s what we were doing tonight.”

Craig had an excellent game in addition to that home run, going 3-3 at the plate with a pair of home runs and four RBIs. The second of the home runs came by the closest of margins, just sneaking over the left field foul pole.
“I kind of hesitated at the beginning, but it was fun to watch it sneak over,” Craig said.

The offense completed the onslaught in the sixth when Taylor hit a line drive single into right field that scored Washington, ending the game on the run rule and sending the Mavericks back to Arlington early.

Not to be forgotten in the wake of the offensive explosion was another complete game shutout from all-American pitcher Blaire Luna, who gave up only two hits while striking out 10 on the night, lowering her ERA to a microscopic 0.88.

“She had a good outing tonight, I think she had to work through some things, and I think it’s tough sometimes when your offense puts up six runs in the first it’s tough to stay focused,” said Texas head coach Connie Clark. “I thought in [the] fourth inning her focus waned a little bit, but she came right back in the fifth and sixth and put up a great performance.”

The Longhorns look to continue their offensive momentum gained from the win today against Texas Woman’s University tonight.