The bats came to life for No. 24 Texas at the Houston Hilton Plaza Invitational.
The Longhorns blasted 11 home runs and scored 48 runs through five games in Houston. Six different Longhorns went deep to help Texas improve to 10–0.
“I love the mindset of our hitters,” head coach Connie Clark said. “They don’t panic and they take a good approach each time. They make adjustments after the first time through the order and that’s what it’s all about.”
Texas got the weekend started with three straight five-inning wins. The Longhorns run-ruled Toledo, 17-2, and Ball State, 13-2, on Friday and beat Ball State again on Saturday, 8-0.
On Sunday, Texas had a rematch with Toledo that resulted in a 6-3 victory before closing out the tournament with a 4-1 win over Houston.
Facing Toledo for the second time, senior center fielder Lindsey Stephens got the Longhorns on the board with a two-run home run in the first. Toledo got on the board in the fourth to cut Texas’ lead to 3-1, but junior third baseman Celina Felix built it right back up.
Felix sent a two-run long ball over the left field wall, marking a fourth-straight game with a home run for the Mt. San Antonio College transfer. Freshman right fielder Reagan Hathaway followed with a solo shot to center to give Texas back-to-back home runs for the second time in the tournament. Toledo scored two runs in its half of the sixth, but couldn’t complete the comeback.
“Celina has a lot of quality at-bats,” Clark said. “She’s got a good eye and she’s a tough out. We have a few youngsters in the lineup, but they’re so talented and they’ve been patient.”
The win against Houston was Texas’ toughest. A crowd of 1,674 went to Cougar Softball Field to support the home team, but a solid performance from junior pitcher Tiarra Davis kept the Cougars from pulling the upset.
Davis threw a complete game and gave up just five hits while earning seven strikeouts. She struggled at times, but showed her maturity to pitch out of jams and help her team stay perfect.
“You have to just go one pitch at a time,” Davis said. “When I gave up the home run, I got the ball back and just thought, ‘Okay, just get to the next pitch before it snowballs.’ Every time I’m up there I just want to own the batter and that’s what I’ve been working on.”
The last time Texas started a season this well was in 2013, which was a season that ended with a Women’s College World Series appearance.
“I think [we can] win the Big 12 and go on to the World Series,” Davis said. “This is the most talented team I’ve been on since I’ve been at UT, and I’m excited to see where we go.”