Cathedral City Classic

The Longhorns, ranked No. 8 in the most recent USA Today/NFCA CoachesÂ’ Poll, will face three top 25 opponents in this weekendÂ’s Cathedral City Classic in California. Texas is undefeated with an 8-0 record.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

The No. 8 Texas Longhorns, who have muscled through the early part of their schedule, are set to face what may be their biggest challenge of the season so far this weekend.

The Longhorns travel west to California to compete in the Cathedral City Classic where they will play a total of five games. The Cathedral City Classic will be a major test for Texas as they prepare to challenge three top 25 teams. So far, the team is 8-0 on the season having just come off a weather-dictated, but successful, weekend at the Texas Classic Invitational. After multiple rain delays and cancellations, Texas survived the weekend with two wins moving them up in the national rankings from 13th to eighth. Blaire Luna was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week with two wins, including a 13 strike out performance in their 3-2 victory over No. 10 Tennessee. The mud-soaked comeback victory was capped by an inside the park home run by Brejae Washington.

Texas starts out the tournament today with two games. The first match is against Cal State Northridge whom the Longhorns have played a total of seven times in their history. Texas leads this series 4-3. The Longhorn’s second game of the day is against San Diego State, with whom they are deadlocked in a 1-1 tie in their series history.

Friday’s game promises to be a particularly difficult test for the Longhorns and perhaps their toughest game of the season when they face the No. 1 team in the nation, the Florida Gators. Texas is 3-4 against the Gators in their all-time record, and a less than stellar 1-3 when playing at a neutral site. The last time these two teams met was last season in the Cathedral City Classic where Florida took the 4-3 victory after nine innings.

For the rest of the weekend the Longhorns will face No. 7 UCLA on Saturday and No. 22 Nebraska on Sunday. Overall, Texas is 4-8 against UCLA and 19-18 against Nebraska. While they have won their last five straight against the Cornhuskers, the last time Texas played UCLA they were handily defeated 9-1 in six innings.

While Texas has been dominant at home, the games in California will be the first time this season the Longhorns are playing away. The Longhorns need to bring the same competitive spirit and maturity that has kept them undefeated on the road to Palm Springs in order to win the Cathedral City Classic.

Printed on Thursday, February 23, 2012 as: Texas treks out West, top teams follow suit

Taylor Hoagland, a sophomore right fielder from Flower Mound, Texas, rewrote the Big 12 record books last weekend. During the Cathedral City Classic in Southern California, she broke the record for longest hitting streak previously held by Nebraska’s Anne Steffan at 25 games. Hoagland’s single against the Long Island Blackbirds brought her hitting streak to 25 games and another single versus the Loyola Marymount Lions that same day set the new bar at 26.

“It’s a great accomplishment,” said teammate Nadia Taylor. “Anything you can break in the Big 12 sounds of a great player.”

It’s not common for a hitter to have a batting average at .481, but Hoagland makes it look easy and many fans have come to expect something spectacular each time she steps into the batter’s box.

“I’ve been working through some things this season,” Hoagland said. “It may look natural, but there’s a lot of work that gets put into it.”
The new record for this versatile hitter doesn’t really surprise head coach Connie Clark. Out of 74 career collegiate games, Hoagland has produced a hit in 63 of them.

“There was a bit of excitement and sense of relief when she got over on first base and broke the record,” Clark said. “We’re excited for her. She’s just an amazing athlete and an amazing package. She’s a great student and a super young lady. I couldn’t be any more excited for someone to represent that record tremendously well.”

The Longhorns as a whole are aware of her success and have even gone so far as to make a game out of it. During batting practice down time, the team tries to see how far Hoagland can hit. The rumor going around the dugout is that one shot found its way into the back parking lot at McCombs Field, a distance of around 500 feet.

“It’s just having fun really,” Hoagland admitted. “It’s nice to know you can both launch a ball 500 feet and drop a bunt.”

Unfortunately, Hoagland’s streak ended at 26 when she wasn’t able to register a hit during the game against Massachusetts that same weekend. However, there are still many games left in the season, and though it may not be her primary agenda, it’s constantly in the back of her mind.

“The record is great,” Hoagland said. “But you just got to keep going on. It never stops, and when it does, you just got to get back on the horse and get back to it.”

The Longhorns will be spending Mardi Gras weekend in Baton Rouge, where they will face LSU, Hofstra and Pittsburgh at the LSU Purple and Gold Challenge that begins Friday afternoon. Louisiana State is the only one of those teams in the top 25 at No. 21 with a record of 12-5.
“We’re going to see some pretty good competition in Louisiana,” Hoagland said. “We’re excited about that.”