Texas’ seventh-inning rally came up short in Norman, Oklahoma, on Saturday, clinching a series sweep for the Big 12 leading Sooners.
The Longhorns fell to 28-12 overall and 2-6 in conference play following the loss, but their fight against No. 9 Oklahoma is something to build on.
“It’s pretty heart-wrenching,” head coach Connie Clark told 105.3 FM about the close losses. “But there were some very good, competitive moments. We had some great at-bats, and we were more aggressive on defense than we have been all year. That’s what we’ll take away.”
Texas got an opportunity to jump on top in the opening frame, but two big strikeouts from senior pitcher Kelsey Stevens left two Longhorns stranded. Oklahoma threatened in the bottom of the second, but junior pitcher Tiarra Davis got out of the bases-loaded jam thanks to great defense from her teammates.
The Sooners didn’t waste their opportunity in the third. Davis gave up two walks to load the bases and give Oklahoma the early advantage behind freshman second baseman Caleigh Clifton’s two-out, two-RBI single to right field.
Oklahoma put together another two-out scoring rally in the fourth to open up its lead. Davis issued a walk that set up senior right fielder Erin Miller’s RBI double, and Miller scored on an extra-base single from the next Sooner up. Sophomore pitcher Kristen Clark entered the game for Davis and gave up an RBI single to the first batter she faced before a pickoff at second ended the inning.
The Longhorns went down in order in the next two innings after an Oklahoma pitching change but showed some fight in the seventh.
Two bunt singles gave Texas some momentum with one out and junior first baseman Kelli Hanzel cashed in by sending a three-run long ball just over the left field wall. Sophomore lefty Paige Parker issued a walk to the next batter she faced, but a fielder’s choice and strikeout ended the game.
“I was thinking that she was going to snag it, but luckily she didn’t,” Hanzel told 105.3 FM about her home run. “There’s a lot to learn from these games, and we’re going to keep fighting. I think we can hang with anybody in the country — we just need to attack early.”
Davis took the loss in the circle for Texas after giving up five runs on eight hits through 3.2 innings. Davis and Kristen Clark walked three Sooners each as free passes continue to be something the Longhorn pitching staff needs to work on as conference play continues.
“OU’s got a challenging lineup,” Connie Clark told 105.3 FM. “But the walks, those are really frustrating. We have to eliminate those and that will be our main focus.”