When the Longhorns have needed a victory this season, they’ve consistently turned to their senior pitcher Paige von Sprecken.
Looking to clinch an important series victory against Texas Tech on Saturday afternoon, Texas head coach Connie Clark once again called upon her steady senior leader, and again, she didn’t disappoint.
Von Sprecken dominated in front of the Longhorns’ largest crowd of the season at McCombs Field, striking out seven and allowing only two hits as the Longhorns (25–15, 8–0 Big 12) defeated Texas Tech, 3-0, to remain perfect in Big 12 play.
“I saw yesterday that they were struggling with off-speed (pitches), so I knew today that was going to be a big factor,” von Sprecken said. “I trusted (sophomore catcher) Taylor Ellsworth’s pitch calling, and we moved the ball around and it worked.”
The senior leader’s shutout was only the fourth time this season that a team had shutout the Red Raiders in a game this season. Clark said it was her ace’s ability to get ahead in the count that helped her cruise through the Texas Tech lineup.
“Paige can be really dominating at times,” Clark said. “She established tremendous pitcher’s counts today and was ahead the majority of the time, and then was able to get them to swing at her pitch.”
The main source of offense for the Longhorns came off the bat of sophomore first baseman Malory Schattle, who smacked the first home run of her college career in the second inning to give Texas an early 2-0 advantage.
Just an inning later, Texas added to its lead with savvy base running. With one out, junior right fielder Bekah Alcozer swiped second base in order to put runners on second and third. But a mishandled throw at second allowed Ellsworth to advance home and make it a 3-0 ball game.
The three-run advantage was all von Sprecken and Texas needed. The senior pitcher finished off the Texas Tech lineup by not allowing a single base runner to reach second base for the entire afternoon.
With the series win, the Longhorns shift their focus to complete the series sweep against the Red Raiders on Sunday, which will provide Texas an opportunity to maintain its perfect status atop the Big 12 standings.
“It was extremely important to get the series win today and a chance to get the sweep tomorrow,” von Sprecken said. “It will set us up for the rest of Big 12 really nicely.”