The potent offense the No. 21 Longhorns displayed to open the Texas Invitational didn’t make an appearance on Friday.
The Longhorns (12–1) went cold in their rematch with the Wildcats and first game against Tulsa. They recorded just five hits in the slow-paced 3-2 victory over Abilene Christian and two hits in a 3-0 loss to the Golden Hurricane.
“We saw two really good pitchers today,” head coach Connie Clark said. “You’re not going to go very long without running into some darn good pitching in our game. I think we made some adjustments but probably could’ve made them a little sooner.”
Abilene Christian got on the board first in game one behind three singles and a stolen base in the second inning.
Junior shortstop Devon Tunning got Texas’ first hit of the game with a single in the third inning. Junior left fielder Stephanie Wong reached on a bunt, and two batters later, junior designated player Celina Felix ripped a two-RBI single to give the Longhorns the lead.
The Wildcats tied the game up in the sixth off a misplayed fly ball to left. Senior second baseman Stephanie Ceo ended the inning with a great diving grab that saved Texas from going behind.
Freshman third baseman Christina Bardwell got a single in the seventh to end a three-inning Texas hit drought. Consecutive bunts put Bardwell on third for Tunning, who sent a grounder down the right field line that Abilene Christian’s first baseman couldn’t handle. Bardwell scored on the error to clinch Texas’ fourth walk-off of the season in a less than stellar game.
“We know that it happens, so we’re going to respond with more energy,” Felix said. “We know the best thing we can do from this is learn.”
Texas didn’t pick up the pace in the next game.
Tulsa jumped on the scoreboard in the first inning when junior left fielder Maddie Withee scored her twin, third baseman Maggie Withee, on a sacrifice fly to center. The following inning, sophomore shortstop Shelby Estocado launched a two-run homerun to build the Tulsa lead to 3-0.
Tulsa’s sophomore pitcher Emily Watson struck out 12 Longhorns and gave up just two hits in a complete-game effort. She faced 10 Longhorns, and Felix was the only one with more than one at-bat that didn’t strikeout.
“[Celina] sees the ball really well,” Clark said. “That’s something special that she has — she’s able to really hone in and decipher the difference between balls and strikes.”
This isn’t the first time Tulsa handed Texas its first loss. In 2013, Texas was 13–0 when it lost to then-No. 24 Tulsa, 7-4. The 12–0 mark the Longhorns have reached this season is the third-best start in program history.
Texas will get a rematch with Tulsa at 10 a.m. Saturday, followed by a matchup with Illinois.
“There’s a little bit of a lull with the amount of games we play,” Felix said. “But we’re going to learn from this.”