No. 24 Texas hasn’t played a full seven-inning game yet in the Hilton Houston Plaza Invitational. But it’s not a bad thing.
The Longhorns (8-0) have run-ruled all three games this weekend, and their offense doesn’t look like it’s slowing down. After scoring 30 runs in 10 innings on Friday, Texas defeated Ball State 8-0 in five in its lone Saturday game in Houston.
“I love that we were able to use the entire roster,” head coach Connie Clark said. “It’s a very unselfish team. I think we had some quality at-bats and quality approach and that’s all you can ask for.”
Junior pitcher Tiarra Davis got the start and her fifth win of the season for Texas. She threw a complete-game effort with eight strikeouts and gave up just one hit.
But once again, it was the long ball that carried Texas to victory.
The Longhorns didn’t start quite as early as they did in their previous matchup with the Cardinals. The game was scoreless when junior third baseman Celina Felix stepped up to the plate in the third inning. With runners on first and second after back-to-back walks, Felix blasted the ball over the left-centerfield wall for a three-run home run.
“I was just seeing the ball really well,” Felix said. “Before I go up, [they] remind me to hit the ball really hard. Me being able to feel comfortable and have fun makes outcomes like that possible.”
Felix’s third deep shot in two days got the rest of the Texas bats going. Junior infielder Kelli Hanzel entered the game as a pinch hitter in the fourth and cleared the bases with a two-run homerun to centerfield to put Texas up, 5-0.
The next five Longhorns up reached base safely to continue the big scoring inning.
Senior Holly Kern entered the game and notched a RBI, extra-base single up the middle. Two batters later, junior designated player Taylor McAllister hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Felix and seal Texas’ third-straight run-rule win.
The Longhorns will close out their time in Houston with a pair of games on Sunday. Texas will play a rematch with Toledo at 11:30 a.m. and close the weekend with a 2 p.m. game against Houston. A large crowd is expected for the Texas vs. Houston game, but that won’t phase the Longhorns.
“We’re expecting just a fun game,” Felix said. “Nothing different than what we’ve experienced with our crowd in Austin. We’ll be feeding off everyone’s energy around the stadium.”