There was something about the freshmen tonight that just clicked. Texas defeated UTSA 7-2 Wednesday night behind the play of its first year players.
Freshman infielder Kaitlyn Slack had just lined her first double out to left center when freshman catcher Taylor Ellsworth took the plate.
Ellsworth had lit the scoreboard in the second inning with a sacrifice fly out to center field for an RBI, giving Texas a 1-0 advantage. At the bottom of the fourth, she was ready to do more.
Ellsworth swung for the fence, belting a fly ball just inside the left field line out of Red and Charline McCombs field. It was her first home run as a collegiate athlete.
“It felt really good,” Ellsworth said. “I’ve been working really hard and everybody’s been helping me and just being able to take it all in and soak it all up and finally do it.”
A crowd of orange flooded from the dugout, lining a path to home to celebrate the freshman’s long ball.
Change is good, especially in the midst of a six-game losing streak. And the fresh arms brought it in Texas’ victory.
Right fielder Kaitlyn Washington, second baseman Kaitlyn Slack, left fielder Tuesday DeMargosian and first baseman Malory Schattle all saw playing time at bat and on defense against UTSA.
“We got all the freshmen in,” head coach Connie Clark said. “Malory got some work at first base and also got some work in the outfield, which is something we want to continue to look at. Our outfielders who are working outfield typically are hitting from the left side, so to continue to have somebody who can play outfield and hit from the right side is something we wanted to create.”
After Ellsworth’s home run, senior shortstop Devon Tunning followed up with a solo home run to bring the score to 4-0.
With only one out and a new pitcher to face at the circle, senior outfielder Stephanie Wong continued the batting momentum with a single to second base. Wong hopped the bases as Washington, and then senior Mickenzi Krpec, took the plate. Krpec sent a bullet to centerfield for a single to bring Wong home for a 5-0 lead.
At the top of the fifth, the Roadrunners made strides at a comeback. Sophomore infielder Hailey Garza singled to first base, then junior Longhorn pitcher Paige v. Sprecken hit Angelica Nino with a pitch for a free walk to first base. Freshman Rylee Rodriguez’s single would load the bases, and after two fielding errors by Texas, the Roadrunners would close the the gap to 5-2.
But that would be it for UTSA. Ellsworth racked up one more single for the Longhorns in the bottom of the fifth, and seniors Kelli Hanzel and Wong followed with singles to make the game 7-2.
While head coach Connie Clark was pleased with the depth shown in the game, she wants more in the coming weeks.
“I think it’s good to get back on the winning ways,” Clark said. “But quite honestly, don’t be satisfied with the outcome. That’s got to be something we get better at.”