Texas sweeps Kansas to stay perfect in conference

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No. 8 Texas swept Kansas (21-10) with two wins on Saturday to improve to 5-0 in conference and 32-4 overall.

Despite coming in to the series owning a nation’s best .384 average, Kansas could only muster 9 hits in 75 at-bats (.120 average) against the 12th best pitching team in the nation.

For the first time this year, the Big 12 got a look at really just how good the Jayhawks are. Even though they are vastly improved from their second-to-last place finish in last year’s Big 12 standings, they are still not ready to compete for a top spot in the Big 12.

When facing quality pitching, which they did for the first time this weekend, Kansas is not the top-hitting team in the nation as the numbers say. Player of the year candidate Blaire Luna held the “potent” Jayhawks offense to four hits in 13 innings.

However, while the rest of the team may not be as good as the numbers say, Maggie Hull is. She hit. 444 accounting for nearly half of the team’s hits.

In the first game Friday, Gabby Smith got the start in the circle and struggled early, allowing three runs in two innings, helping Kansas get out to a 3-0 lead. But freshman Holly Kern (6-3) then came in and silenced the Jayhawk bats, allowing just one hit and one run.

After cutting deficit to one with two runs in the fourth, the Longhorns exploded for 14 runs, the highest-scoring inning in the program’s history, in the sixth. The two hottest Texas hitters went off. Taylor Hoagland, after walking in her previous eight plate appearances, delivered a tie-breaking grand slam. And two hitters later, Taylor Thom delivered a two-run shot.

Those were both players’ tenth homer of the year. By the time the game was over, Texas was looking at a 16-4 lead.

The 16 runs were the most ever for the Longhorns in a conference game.

In the second game, Luna (17-1) went the distance. She allowed two hits and two earned runs in the first and nothing the rest of the game besides two unearned runs in pace to a 5-4 win. Hoagland recorded 4 more walks, while Marlee Gabaldon recorded the game-winning RBI. Thom and Torie Schmidt both recorded three more hits in the contest.

The Longhorns will return to action 4:30 Tuesday for a non-conference double header against McNeese State.