In the midst of a five-run rally in the first inning, Texas head coach Connie Clark broke from her usual coaching stance at third base and cracked a quick smile.
This victory, while expected, felt good for her struggling team.
Thanks to an offensive explosion at the plate and dominant pitching in the circle from redshirt junior pitcher Erica Wright, the Longhorns (7–8) run-ruled the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders (5–10) in five quick innings for an 8-0 win.
“This time of year, you’re coming off those big tournaments, and we’ve been playing so much we haven’t had much practice opportunities,” Clark said. “We had an opportunity yesterday and tonight to work through some things we needed to get after.”
The Longhorns’ offense pressured the Islanders right off the bat in the first inning.
After dropping a bunt single with one out, junior right fielder Ki’Audra Hayter swiped second base on a steal and advanced to third on a throwing error by Islanders catcher Kaylee Hoppens.
Sophomore catcher Taylor Ellsworth promptly followed suit, stealing second after drawing a walk. But another errant throw by Hoppens allowed Hayter to advance home for the Longhorns’ first lead of the game.
With Ellsworth at third, senior first baseman Paige von Sprecken lined a shot through the right side of the infield to make it 2-0. She scored just shortly after, as sophomore shortstop Kaitlyn Slack looped a single to shallow left field for a three-run lead.
Following a walk from freshman third baseman MK Tedder, junior designated player Bekah Alcozer broke the game open by roping a RBI double to the alley in right-center field, giving the Longhorns a 5-0 lead.
“I felt good this week and earlier during batting practice,” Alcozer said. “I knew I was seeing the ball well and coming in to hit the way I know how to.”
Texas added more runs in the second, as von Sprecken, with runners at first and third, recorded her second RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly to move the Texas lead to 6-0. Sophomore left fielder Kaitlyn Washington then flared a pitch over the glove of Islanders second baseman Destiney Diaz to bring home another Texas run.
Wright, meanwhile, delivered a much-needed quality start in the pitcher’s circle for the Longhorns. The junior allowed only one hit and whiffed four Islanders hitters en route to her second victory of the season.
Texas added its final run in the bottom of the fourth inning. In her first plate appearance of the season, senior pitcher Kristen Clark smoked an RBI single to left field, scoring sophomore first baseman Malory Schattle from second for the 8-0 lead.
Freshman pitcher Ariana Adams closed out the final Islanders hitters in the top of the fifth inning, sealing the Texas win in her first collegiate appearance.
“It’s about the growth process with these young athletes and getting a bunch of different looks,” Connie Clark said. “(There were) some good things in terms of piecing it together.”
Texas now shifts its attention to No. 9 Arizona, as the Longhorns prepare for a three-game series at McCombs Field this weekend.