Texas looks to spend week at home victoriously

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Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

Texas has traveled all over the states since late February, covering 9,000 miles and being out of town for 18 out of the 26 possible days. But now, the Longhorns can unpack their suitcases for a while in Texas. 

“Having two more non-conference games this weekend and getting a couple more days of practice in is going to be significant,” head coach Connie Clark said.

The Longhorns will face Houston in a doubleheader on Sunday in preparation for their first Big 12 home series against reigning national champion Oklahoma.

After going 0-1 in their conference-opener against Oklahoma State, Texas came back with a 9-1 confidence-boosting win over UTSA on Wednesday.

“We try not to focus on outcomes, but every once in a while you try to get a little bit, so you can start building confidence,” Clark said. “I think that will bode well for conference.” 

The Longhorns were able to rack up the hits at bat, tallying four home runs against the Roadrunners. Freshman Jade Gortarez walked out with her first collegiate home run of the season.

“(I was) just barely working through some things with Coach (Tripp) MacKay, and I feel like I got my swing back,” Gortarez said. 

Along with Gortarez, sophomore center fielder Reagan Hathaway, senior shortstop Devon Tunning and freshman Taylor Ellsworth all had home runs in the contest against UTSA’s bullpen of three different pitchers. Now, Texas is hoping to translate that offensive scheme against other teams. 

“We’ve talked so much about that,” Clark said. “They have been putting in the time mechanically and it’s not just their brains were on high, high speed.”

Gortarez explained that it wasn’t so much the elevation of the ball, but hitting it at the right angles that was the key to her success at the plate Wednesday. It’s the little things that have helped her and other hitters find success at the plate. Ellsworth currently leads the team with a .543 batting average, while Tunning leads the team in home runs with five. 

While the batting gains consistency, the pitching maintains it. Junior pitcher Erica Wright is on a hot streak, allowing only six hits in 24 straight innings, maintaining a season ERA of 2.35. After a year off from pitching, Wright is showing dominance as the top starter for the burnt orange.

“She just trusts her stuff,” Clark said. “The call comes in and she commits to it and makes her pitch. She’s coming back into form and always has a great compete factor.” 

Barring weather conditions, the Longhorns will face the Cougars at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.