While many Longhorn graduates were celebrating the end of their college journeys at the Forty Acres on Saturday, five were fighting to keep theirs going in Louisiana.
Texas started day two of the Lafayette Regional with a game against the hosting No. 14 seed Ragin’ Cajuns. After dropping that game 9-1, the Longhorns tried to redeem themselves in a rematch with Texas A&M. Texas lost the elimination game 9-3, ending the 2016 season.
Texas couldn’t get much going in its game against Louisiana-Lafayette. The Longhorns were aggressive at the plate against Louisiana pitcher Alex Stewart and recorded eight hits, but couldn’t deliver with runners on base.
Stewart had a shutout through 6.2 innings, but senior center fielder Lindsey Stephens ripped a solo home run to left, putting Texas on the board. That tied her record of five-straight games with a home run.
Junior pitcher Tiarra Davis labored in the Louisiana heat and gave up 13 hits and four walks in the complete game effort. She executed her change-up to near perfection in her previous start, but it often rolled in the dirt to home plate against Louisiana-Lafayette.
Texas A&M defeated Boston University in the first elimination game of the day to earn another go at Texas, who beat the Aggies 5-0 on Friday.
The Longhorns took an early lead on an RBI sacrifice fly from senior catcher Erin Shireman in the second but couldn’t hold on.
Texas sent sophomore Paige von Sprecken to the circle to give the Aggies a different look than they got on Friday. She pitched just three innings and gave up four walks and five hits, including a three-RBI double to opposing freshman pitcher Samantha Show in the third.
Senior right fielder Holly Kern tied the game in the bottom half of the frame with a two-RBI home run to center field.
Despite Davis’ struggles earlier in the day, head coach Connie Clark sent the lefty to the circle in the fourth inning. She had already thrown 269 pitches through two complete games between Friday and Saturday, and was suffering from flu-like symptoms.
“She’s being tough,” Clark said mid-game on ESPN2. “She’s our ace, she wants the ball and we’re going to ride her as long as we can.”
Unfortunately for Texas, Davis didn’t have the same success against the Aggies that she had on Friday. Texas A&M notched five more hits and four more walks after the pitching change to seal their victory and advance to the regional final against Louisiana-Lafayette.
Senior second baseman Stephanie Ceo, who had a solid four years at Texas, didn’t record a hit throughout the Lafayette Regional. Stephens went out with a bang, recording five hits and three solo home runs. Shireman, Kern and senior role player Rachel Scott also saw their careers come to a close.