Longhorns sweep Kansas to kick off Big 12 play

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Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

For nearly three innings, the Longhorns dugout sat lifeless at McCombs Field, awaiting a sign of life during a scoreless stalemate. Then, with two outs in the bottom of the third, junior outfielder Bekah Alcozer suddenly provided a much-needed lift.

“I came up to the plate and knew we needed to push at least one run across,” Alcozer said. “I was just looking for a way to put the ball in play and help out my team.”

Powered by a two-run RBI double by Alcozer and a combined shutout by junior pitchers Brooke Bolinger and Erica Wright, the Longhorns (16–13, 3–0 Big 12) cruised to a 3-0 victory on Sunday afternoon, sweeping the Kansas Jayhawks in their first Big 12 series of the season.

“Quite honestly, it was great we had to reset today,” head coach Connie Clark said. “Their pitcher who threw at us Friday showed a lot more spin today and we had to make adjustments, but I’m proud of the fact that we pulled the momentum back on our side.”

The Texas hitters struggled to find any kind of success against Kansas pitcher Andie Formby for the first two innings, failing to register a single hit. However, fortunes changed for the Longhorns in the bottom of third inning.

With runners on first and second base and two outs, Alcozer drilled a hanging breaking ball to the alley in right centerfield, driving in freshman third baseman MK Tedder and sophomore catcher Taylor Ellsworth for the 2-0 lead.

The Jayhawks rallied in the following frame, putting designated hitter Jessie Roane at second base after a single and a wild pitch. But Ellsworth stifled the Kansas rally just as it started, picking off Roane at second with a well-executed throw down to second base to end the inning.

Texas added to its lead again in the sixth, as sophomore left fielder Kaitlyn Washington stepped to the plate and smoked a triple down the right field line to open the frame. Sophomore first baseman Malory Schattle took advantage from there, blooping a single to centerfield to give Texas a 3-0 lead.

After a scoreless sixth inning, Wright sat down the Kansas hitters in order to finish off the victory for the Longhorns.

“Our defense was great behind me and our bats were going (this weekend),” Wright said. “It was nice to be relaxed in the circle and know your team has your back.”

The Longhorns’ hitting and pitching shined on Saturday afternoon as well in a 5-2 series-clinching victory.

Seven different Longhorns recorded a hit against the Jayhawks, including four different players with RBI singles. Senior Paige von Sprecken and Wright sprinkled three Kansas hits over seven innings, not surrendering a run after the second inning.

On Friday evening, the Texas offense pieced together its strongest performance of the season in its opening game, run-ruling Kansas 10-2 in five innings.

Kaitlyn Washington led the Longhorns’ effort with a 3-3 performance at the plate, including a double and a RBI, and junior center fielder Ki’Audra Hayter added her first home run of her Texas career during the winning effort.

“A lot of  swings and looks at pitch identification in practice (has helped the offense),” Clark said. “What we did in those practice opportunities I thought really showed up this weekend.”

Next, the Longhorns will host Stephen F. Austin on Tuesday evening at McCombs Field.