With right fielder Jamise Jackson up to bat at the top of the seventh, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi hoped to redeem itself. Three balls, two strikes, two outs — all Jackson wanted to do was get on base and help her team curb a six-run deficit.
Texas pitcher Blaire Luna had other ideas, instead earning her 14th strikeout of the game to clinch a 6-0 season-opening win for No. 7 Texas. The no-hitter marked Luna’s first since March 17, 2011, and her two walks were all that kept her from a perfect game.
“I really tried to stay pitch-to-pitch and not get consumed with the number of strikeouts,” Luna said. “Knowing I had a no-hitter going, I tried to zero in. My confidence is a lot better this year.”
Junior second baseman Karina Scott opened the stout offensive effort in the first inning with a two-out, two-strike RBI single to right field. The hit allowed junior Brejae Washington to score from second base after stealing it beforehand. The solid start ushered in a strong second inning as Luna quickly struck out three consecutive batters.
Third baseman Taylor Hoagland stepped up to the plate after two outs, two walks and a failure to convert left Mandy Ogle and Gabby Smith on base before her. Hoagland preceded to crush the ball out of the diamond for a three-run homer.
“I learned to treat every ball like my last, because in retrospect, it is,” Hoagland said of her performance. “All week it was hard to focus because I was so excited for tonight, and to come out here and show out like we did was awesome.”
Hoagland was walked in all of her remaining at-bats, as the Islanders no longer looked to pitch her the ball. Hoagland wasn’t fazed. She stole two bases, as did Washington, who brought her school record career total to 67. Hoagland stole her 59th and 60th bases, good for the fourth-most steals in school history.
“I’m just going to steal second and either way, I’ll help my team get into our position,” she said.
“Honestly this is one of the best nights of my life so far,” Shireman said of her debut. “ I was going into bat just trying to stay calm and not think too much but as soon as I hit that ball, I knew it was gone. It felt amazing.”
The Longhorns, now 1-0, introduced all six freshmen into play as they continued their undefeated season opener streak. Texas is 108-9 in season openers and tossed its 11th shutout against the Islanders, who the Longhorns are 23-3 against all-time.
The Longhorns return to the field against North Texas on Friday at 6 p.m. and Memphis on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Published on February 8, 2013 as "Luna's fifth no-hitter fuels Horns".