Texas softball drops two of three to Texas Tech

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After scoring four runs in the first game, the Longhorns only managed to score three over the next two games against Texas Tech.
Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

After edging the Red Raiders in a close game Friday, Texas dropped the next two to conclude the three-game conference series this past weekend.

With sophomore first baseman Kelli Hanzel’s go-ahead blast in the sixth and freshman pitcher Erica Wright’s 10 strikeouts Friday night, Texas grabbed a 4–3 win over Texas Tech for its ninth-consecutive road win.

Texas (32–14, 7–5 Big 12) jump-started the game with a crucial three-run second inning, but Texas Tech (23–25, 7–8 Big 12) fought back. In the fourth inning, Devon Thomey, Texas Tech sophomore designated hitter, sent one into the stands to pull within two. The next inning, the Red Raiders rallied with two outs with an RBI triple and a windy tag-up on a dropped foul ball that rolled fair.

In the top of the sixth, Hanzel put Texas back in the lead with a home run, and in the bottom of the seventh, sophomore Tiarra Davis clinched the victory with a game-ending strikeout.

“Significant win for us,” head coach Connie Clark said. “I’m just pleased overall with our fight and our grit, especially when they tied it up. To answer right back, that was huge.”

Clark said she was especially glad to see Texas’ success at the plate.

“We’ve had a few of our hitters working really hard this week on some things — [Hanzel] specifically and Stephanie Ceo,” Clark said.

The next day, the Longhorns struggled to find home plate. With an 8-to-3 hit advantage over the home team, the Longhorns stranded seven over the course of the game.

In the first inning, the Red Raiders pulled a role reversal over the Longhorns, and while Texas stayed scoreless, Texas Tech took off.

Senior Gabby Smith struggled from the mound, pitching just two-thirds of an inning. In that time, the Red Raiders scored three of their four runs. Wright relieved for 5.1 frames, allowing just one run while striking out six, but the Longhorns couldn’t manage to put a run on the board.

In the top of the final frame, Texas junior designated hitter Holly Kern led off with a pop out, followed by singles from senior right fielder Marlee Gabaldon and junior catcher Erin Shireman. Still, a strikeout and a fielder’s choice concluded the game with the Red Raiders on top, 4–0.

In the third and final game of the series, Texas started out with a glimmer of hope. Sophomore shortstop Devon Tunning led off and reached first on a walk, her 30th time this season reaching base to begin the game. But she never made it around the bases, and with both teams scoreless in the first, the Red Raiders cracked the scoreboard after Davis walked a batter with the bases loaded in the bottom of the second.

Finally, in the fifth, the Longhorns reached home plate for the first time in 12 innings. With Tunning and sophomore left fielder Stephanie Wong on base, junior center fielder Lindsey Stephens hit a three-run home run — her 14th home run of the season — to her respective area of the field to pull the Longhorns within two. But the Longhorns’ success didn’t last long, and after another run in the fifth and one in the sixth for the Red Raiders, Texas fell, 7–3.

Texas continues conference play against Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. Friday in Stillwater, Oklahoma.