Sooners hand Longhorns another close loss


Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

“Almost” only counts in horseshoes — not softball.

Texas is frustrated to know that by now.

All six of Texas’ losses since March 12 have been by one run, and Friday added a seventh in the Longhorns’ 3-2 loss to Oklahoma at home.

“I’m thinking hopefully our luck is just going to break open because that’s kind of the game of softball,” junior pitcher Erica Wright said. “Some games you hit them right to people and some luck is just on your side and they fall into play.”

Wright stood at the circle for the Longhorns as the top starter, but the first inning didn’t show that.

The Sooners are known to play a game of fast-paced softball, hitting on lower counts at bat and diving for catches in the field. The reigning national champions are currently ranked No. 10 in the nation, while Texas has dropped off the map with losses.

Nicole Mendes singled up the middle to put the Sooners on base. Sophomore Caleigh Clifton fired another shot to left field for a single. Loading the bases was sophomore Sydney Romero, whose bunt stopped just halfway between Wright and Ellsworth, causing a hesitated throw to first.

A single to the right side by sophomore Pale Aviu lit the scoreboard, sending a roaring cheer through the left crowd of Crimson in the bleachers, 1-0. A defensive play on the score recorded the first out. A steal by Aviu put runners on second and third, but a failed bunt and a Wright strikeout avoided further damage in the first.

“I was hitting my spots and they were just little blooper hits,” Wright said. “And all I can do is just keep hitting my spots and it’ll start going to somebody.”

At the top of the third, sophomore centerfielder Reagan Hathaway would give the Longhorns a scare, colliding with senior first baseman Kelli Hanzel while trying to catch a ball in the outfield. Hathaway rolled around the ground, holding her knee until she was escorted off the field.

But Texas would seek revenge at the bottom of the third, freshman outfielder Tuesday DerMargosian knocked the first hit of the game with a single to left field. DerMargosian stole second while Celina Felix was at bat and Hanzel walked from the plate to put two runners on base.

Senior shortstop Devon Tunning sent a grounder rolling between the first and second base for a single RBI, tying the game 1-1. Hanzel followed up with a score on a passed ball to take the lead 2-1.

“It definitely moved our momentum forward and brought our energy up,” DerMargosian said. “I think if that inning had never happened it probably would’ve gone downhill.”

But it wouldn’t be that easy. At the top of the fourth, Sophomore infielder Shay Knighten blasted a homer, hitting the foul pole in left field to knock it just inside the infield line for a 2-2 score.

Just like the first inning, a string of singles loaded the bases at the top of the sixth. The Sooners would reclaim the lead with a single RBI 3-2 and the score wouldn’t change during the final inning.

“From a compete standpoint, I thought we competed well,” head coach Connie Clark said. “We capitalized on opportunities, stayed aggressive. I think the only thing we’d like to do is cut out some of the strikeouts, but we had some quality at-bats. I’m just ready to see the ball fall.”

Texas continues its series with the Sooners on Saturday at 1 p.m.