The Longhorns played two similar games with two different outcomes on Friday at Red and Charline McCombs Field.
Texas went balls-to-fence in their 6-5 victory over Louisiana Tech in the first game of the doubleheader.
The Longhorns used three pitchers within the first game: sophomore Brooke Bolinger, redshirt sophomore Erica Wright and junior Paige Von Sprecken.
“I think in the first game we had some good grit,” head coach Connie Clark said. “All the pitchers were queued up and ready to come in and we needed them all to get the outcome.”
Singles flew past Bolinger left and right. With no outs, Bolinger added to the count, walking the third batter to have the bases loaded at the top of the first. Louisiana Tech scored on a single fly to centerfield, followed by a walk and a third hit to bring the score to 3-0.
At the bottom of the first, senior outfielder Stephanie Wong knocked a triple to left field, followed by a score on an illegal pitch. The doubles piled up next, with the help of senior shortstop Devon Tunning and senior Mickenzi Krpec for a score of 3-2.
After Bolinger gave up a homer in the second inning, redshirt sophomore Erica Wright took the plate at 4-2.
“Obviously, Brooke’s new,” Clark said. “She’s been on campus for four weeks and she’s still working at the conditioning piece and what we need out of a pitcher at this level.”
Texas and Louisiana Tech didn’t score until the bottom of the fourth, where Bekah Alcozer lit the scoreboard with a solo home run. Tunning was walked, then sophomore Reagan Hathaway nailed a triple to centerfield to bring Tunning home, putting Texas back in the game at 4-4.
Junior pitcher Paige Von Sprecken took the plate at 5-4 in the fifth and the offense would finish the rest.
With two outs, Texas’s senior third baseman Celina Felix doubled with a fly-ball to the left fence to bring Krpec home. Tied at 5-5, junior catcher Randel Leahy hit a line drive up center field to crash the fence, sealing the win 6-5.
“I think we have so much potential and we haven’t quite figured out yet how to merge all of our potential together to make a really great team.” Leahy said.
The following game against South Carolina followed a similar script, with a different outcome.
Senior pitcher Tiarra Davis avoided trouble with two key strikeouts early in the second game.
The Longhorns were down 2-0 heading into the third inning. Wong and Tunning made key steals at first and second base. Hathaway, Krpec and Leahy racked up the hits to tie 3-3. Felix would RBI to take the lead 4-3.
But at the top of the fourth, Davis exited the game with six hits, three earned runs and six walks. Gamecocks 6-4 lit the scoreboard behind her.
Junior Kristen Clark entered the game hoping to clean it up for Texas, but walked four batters and allowed the Gamecocks to score three more runs for a total score 9-4. Sophomore Erica Wright closed the game in the final two innings with no score, but the Longhorns had nothing left.
“We talked about two things today pregame,” (Connie) Clark said. “We talked about being decisive and aggressive and I don’t know if we did real well in either ball game in that.”