It was a close call for the No. 13 Longhorns Wednesday night, where they were nearly upset by the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders.
After losing the early lead they had, Texas fought back in the bottom of the sixth inning to retake the lead by one where they kept it and won the game. Coming off a strong weekend in the Texas Classic where they gave up only 10 hits and didn’t give up one run and outscored their opponents 60-0, the team had high expectations coming into the game.
It was a different story this time. Instead of outstanding defense and shut-out pitching, the Longhorns struggled in that part of the game and had limited offense. The following are key differences between Wednesday night and the weekend, which Texas plans to focus on in the future.
Texas gave up 11 hits against the Islanders last night, while only giving up 10 hits in all of their five games over the weekend. This results from a difference in the pitching. Four pitchers made appearances over the weekend, while three made appearances last night. In the Texas Classic, they recorded a total of 39 strikeouts, an average of 7.8 a game, while last night, they only had five.
Sophomore Rachel Fox started the game Wednesday night in which she left after 4.2 innings, giving up eight hits. She started one game over the weekend versus UTSA and she pitched a complete game shutout giving up only three hits. Something was off on the night for the pitching until junior Blaire Luna came in in the last two innings, striking out four and ending the game.
The Longhorns had two uncharacteristic errors in Wednesday’s game, while recording none over the weekend. Texas’ two errors came early in the game, both in the top of the second. Junior Taylor Hoagland bobbled a grounder at third base, recording her error, while pitcher Fox did the same on the mound, accounting for the second error. These two errors lead to two runs for the Islanders, the first two Texas allowed this season. While this didn’t necessarily tie up the game for A&M Corpus Christi, it gave them momentum and confidence for future innings in where they took the lead.
Not all differences were for the worse, however. Texas got the bunt down Wednesday night after they didn’t have the chance this past weekend. In the Texas Classic, the Longhorns didn’t have a chance to try and bunt the ball. According to head coach Connie Clark, this was a good chance to try out what they worked on in practice.
“The games [over the weekend] did not give us those opportunities because we were pounding out so many runs, and tonight, the score was close enough that we got the opportunity to work that in,” Clark said. “One take away from the game would be that it was a great opportunity to apply the bunts from practice.”
Finally, the Longhorns didn’t have the offensive production that they had this past weekend. In their five games in the Texas Classic, Texas scored a total of 60 runs. Their lowest scoring game was 8-0, where they won in five innings with the run-rule. In Wednesday night’s game, they had minimum offensive production where, in a total of 24 at bats, they tallied only nine hits and got put out 21 times. However, over the weekend, the lowest amount of hits they recorded was 10 in a single game.
Texas is off to a strong start so far and they are looking to continue it into this weekend where they are hosting the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational. Clark is excited to see the energy going into the tournament, and play against the good competition they have coming in. They face off against Pittsburgh in their first game of the tournament Friday afternoon.
Printed on Thursday, February 16, 2012 as: Longhorns hold on to defeat Islanders