Upset-minded Longhorns look to bring down rival Sooners

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Senior outfielder Holly Kern prepares to hit the ball in Texas’ 2-0 win over Texas Tech on April 9. The Longhorns travel to Norman to play the Oklahoma Sooners this weekend.

Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns are distant from rival Oklahoma in the standings, but have a chance to close the gap this weekend. 

The Longhorns, winners of seven of their last eight games, will enter a three-game series this weekend with the Sooners this weekend. Oklahoma sits atop the Big 12 with a 31-7 overall record and 6-1 Big 12 mark.

“I think that they’ve played with a little more poise down the stretch,” head coach Connie Clark said.

The Longhorns claimed two of three games in the series against Texas Tech after beginning conference play by dropping two games to Baylor. Clark is relying on the team’s experience in Norman. 

“We have a lot of film on [Oklahoma],” said Clark. “Paige Parker: Our returners have seen her and what she’s bringing to the table. But you need to stay in your own Texas bubble. Their fans will try to get you riled up a little bit.”

Texas lost all three matchups against the Sooners last season by a combined score of 15-1. The Longhorns haven’t been susceptible to allowing as many runs this year, currently leading the Big 12 in ERA with a 1.96 average.

“My mindset on the mound is when I get up there, I know the hitters can’t hit me,” junior pitcher Tiarra Davis said. “It’s more about a confidence thing and being mentally prepared.”

Davis’ pitching will be combated by the powerful offense of Oklahoma. The Sooners lead the conference in batting average, currently hitting with a .359 average. Oklahoma also averages 7.1 runs per game, while Texas has only allowed more than seven runs twice this season.

“We’re really trying to focus on us, not so much on our opponent,” sophomore first baseman Holly Kern said. “I think a win would be fantastic, I think a couple of wins would be awesome. It would really push us toward postseason.”

The road environment has not been a cakewalk for the Longhorns this season, as the team has gone 4-4 on the road. But taking one or two games in this series would be meaningful to Texas, who will return from Norman to an eight-game homestand.

“I think most importantly, it would mean a lot for our RPI, that we could get a win against a top 25 team,” said Davis. “If we beat OU for the Big 12, that’s a chance to be a top contender for a championship.”