Texas softball sweeps Texas Classic, breaks record

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Taylor Hoagland watches her homerun ball as it sails over the fence. The Longhorns’ bats came alive as they scored 61 runs over the weekend tournament, and ruled the Colorado State Rams.

Photo Credit: Marisa Vasquez | Daily Texan Staff

Despite a chilly Sunday afternoon in which snow flurries and sleet made appearances throughout the game, Texas capped off a very successful weekend tournament with an 8-0 run-ruled victory against the Colorado State Rams. The No. 18 Longhorns went 5-0 in the Texas Classic, their season-opening tournament.

The Texas offense was overpowering all weekend and scored 60 runs against none for the visitors in five games. Four of the five games were ended early by a run rule, which occurs when a team is up by at least seven runs after five innings. In addition to Sunday afternoon’s victory against the Rams, the Longhorns defeated Cal State Fullerton, 23-0, on Thursday in five innings and defeated UTSA twice, both in five innings. Texas beat the Roadrunners, 15-0, on Friday and 8-0 Saturday. The Longhorns were forced into seven innings only once, a 6-0 victory in their first game against the Rams on Saturday evening.

The 23-0 victory against Cal State Fullerton was a single-game Texas record for runs scored.

Senior Lexy Bennett and junior Taylor Hoagland both headlined the Texas offense. Bennett had two home runs and scored eight runs with 11 RBI on the weekend. Hoagland, who opened Sunday’s game with a solid home run to center field, connected for three home runs and eight RBI on four hits. In total, the Longhorns produced a staggering 62 hits in 27 innings.

“I think as a team, everyone is going up to bat with one goal — just getting their job done,” Bennett said. “Regardless of how many outs or how many people are on base, you want to get the runs in. If there is no one on, we’re trying to get on base to make something happen.”

Despite the easy victories, the Texas coaching staff remains cautious about the rest of the season. They understand that the true test comes against tougher conference opponents when Big 12 play begins against Texas Tech in March.

“We want to continue to play, battle and compete,” said Texas head coach Connie Clark. “Everyone is really committed and zeroed in ... We still need to commit to bunts and get those down and that’s going to be something we continue to work on going forward.”

Texas also lived up to expectations in the circle and on defense. The Longhorn pitching staff, led by junior All-American Blaire Luna, produced 27 innings of shutout pitching while only allowing 10 hits in five games. Luna pitched two complete games with 22 strike outs. Junior Kim Bruins, sophomore Rachel Fox and freshman Gabby Smith each started over the weekend.

The Longhorn defense had a nearly perfect weekend with only two errors.

“We have a solid defense and obviously a very good battery,” Clark said.

Printed on Monday, February 13, 2012 as: Longhorns begin season 5-0