junior outfielder

Freshman pitcher Erica Wright leads the Longhorns’ pitching staff with a 5–3 record and 1.54 ERA.
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

In its fifth and final tournament before the conference season begins, Texas (13–7) will travel to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to compete in the Carolina Classic. 

Although the team was originally scheduled to start the tournament against North Carolina on Thursday, the Longhorns never took the field because of inclement weather.

As a team, the Longhorns are coming off a 4–0 performance in the Texas Invitational. Their success comes from a combination of offense and defense. Texas’ leadoff batters, known for setting the tone early, reach the bases over 40 percent of the time — while from the circle, freshman Erica Wright has pitched up to her hype with a 5–3 record, three solo shutouts, six complete games and an impressive 1.54 ERA.

Texas, ranked No. 25 last week, dropped out of the rankings this week. 

With three games remaining in the tournament, weather permitting, the Longhorns face Ohio at 11 a.m. Friday.

So far, the Bobcats (4–9) have struggled to find a consistent positive rhythm — the team is currently on a five-game losing streak, though select Ohio players have stepped up to the plate. Junior outfielder Sloan Walker, who has played in all 13 games this season, has displayed a stellar batting performance, hitting .404 with nine runs on the season. Although she’s only played in four games so far, freshman outfielder Michaela Dorsey records a team-best .429 batting average for the Bobcats. Three other players join Sloan and Walker in hitting over .300 for the team. 

The last and only meeting between the Longhorns and the Bobcats, five years ago, ended in an 11–5 Longhorns’ victory. In the remaining two games of the tournament, Texas will play North Carolina on Friday and Charlotte on Saturday.

North Carolina (11–4) started the season on a positive note, and the Tar Heels’ freshmen do the most work to carry the team. Freshman infielder Taylor Wike is batting .432 with four doubles and two triples and freshman pitcher Kaylee Carlson maintains a 2.58 ERA with a 6–2 record and 37 strikeouts. Junior outfielder Aquilla Mateen also hits .429 and has started in all of the team’s games this year. The Longhorns last played the Tar Heels in 2014, defeating them 7–3.

Texas will meet Charlotte for the first time in program history Saturday. Charlotte (8–6) is 2–2 on a neutral site this year and provides a balanced batting lineup. Four players hit over .300, and the 49ers have outscored their opponents 73–41. 

Cohl Walla dismissed from Longhorns baseball team

Texas announced Friday that junior outfielder Cohl Walla has been dismissed from the baseball team for an undisclosed violation of team rules.

Walla, a local product from Lake Travis, batted .316 with eight home runs and 40 RBIs during a promising freshman season in 2010. He stole 14 bases and was named a Freshman All-American by Baseball America that year, but battled injuries throughout the rest of his Longhorns career and missed all of last season with a torn ACL.

“We are extremely disappointed in the release of Cohl,” Texas head coach Augie Garrido said in a statement. “We see him as an exceptional athlete and it’s disappointing that we didn’t do more to help him stay focused in order to reach his full potential."

Walla was hitless in four at-bats and drew two walks this season. As a sophomore in 2011, he hit just .229 with 18 RBIs and no home runs.

"We are proud of the fact that he is going to graduate from The University of Texas and will do everything in our power to help him sign a professional contract," Garrido said.
 

Taylor Thom takes a swing in a recent game for Texas. Thom went hitless in three games against Missouri this weekend as the Tigers won the series.

Photo Credit: Rebeca Rodriguez | Daily Texan Staff

The Texas offense was limited in action in its first set of conference losses all season.

The pitching staff on Saturday for No. 11 Missouri proved to be just as daunting for the Longhorn bats this weekend as they were last season. The No. 3 Longhorns were held to a season low of four runs in two games as they lost the final two games of the three-game series against the Tigers this Easter weekend.

The losses also marked the first home defeats of the 2012 season.

“Yeah, we just have to hand it to Chelsea [Thomas],” said junior outfielder Torie Schmidt about the Missouri pitcher and the lack of a Texas offense. “She did a good job of mixing up pitches, and we just didn’t make the adjustments that we needed to make.”

On Friday, the Longhorns managed four runs, but the normally explosive Texas offense was not able to mount a late rally to counter 11 runs scored by Missouri. The Tigers won 11-4. The Longhorns pounded out 12 hits against 14 for Mizzou.

The game was tied through much of the game until three runs by Missouri put Texas down at the top of the fifth. A two-run effort in the bottom of the sixth tied the game, but seven runs by the Tigers in the seventh sealed the win.

Recently this season, Texas has been infamous for gritty game-saving comebacks, however, the seven run deficit was too much. The Longhorns made a valiant effort in the seventh, with Schmidt and sophomore catcher Mandy Ogle producing two hits with two outs. However, junior outfielder Taylor Hoagland, who is normally clutch at the plate, struck out swinging to end the game, breaking the Longhorn’s 10-game win streak.

Hoagland, along with senior second baseman Lexy Bennett and sophomore outfielder Brejae Washington, led the Texas offense Friday night with two hits each.

On Saturday, the Longhorns suffered their first shutout all season with a 2-0 loss. The last shutout was a 1-0 loss to the University of Houston in the first round of the NCAA postseason tournament last May. The Longhorns were held to only five hits.

The Missouri pitcher struck out nine Longhorn batters and issued two walks in the win. The strikeouts came at unfortunate times for Texas. The Longhorns managed to get runners on the bases twice during the shutout, but Missouri didn’t bow to the pressure. Washington was struck out three times in the loss.

“You have to tip your cap. She was a little bit different each day,” said Texas head coach Connie Clark. “She appeared to have a specific game plan with each of our hitters. We just couldn’t string anything together. We had a couple things here and there, but we weren’t able to string them together.”

Printed on Monday, April 9, 2012 as: Missouri pitches shutout, Texas loses two of three

Hoagland squares around to bunt during practice Wednesday afternoon. She’ll be one of eight upperclassmen for Texas in 2012.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

While most athletes hit the gym and dive into personal workouts and unofficial team workouts in the offseason, Taylor Hoagland did something a bit different this past fall. Last summer the junior outfielder earned a roster spot on the USA National Softball team and spent several months touring the country and the world. After spending her offseason wearing red, white and blue, Hoagland is ready to be back in burnt orange. “I am so ready to just start playing,” Hoagland said. “I’m counting down.”

Hoagland is expected to pick up where she left off last spring and guide a potentially explosive offense through the 2012 season. Last year Hoagland started in all 56 games for Texas and posted an impressive .335 batting average. She led the team with 15 home runs and 54 runs scored and contributed further with 36 RBIs. “She’s just an amazing athlete, she’s an amazing package,” said Texas head coach Connie Clark of Hoagland’s performance with the Longhorns. “She’s a great student and a super young lady.”

Hoagland hopes that what she learned last summer will help the Longhorns back home as they begin their season tonight.

“I think the biggest thing I learned was role-playing, teamwork and having one common goal to work towards the entire season,” Hoagland said.

In the championship game of the World Cup of Softball, Hoagland came up with a clutch home run to push the USA team past Japan to win the tournament. Her shining moment came after a long stretch where Hoagland didn’t see much playing time with the national team, but she was still happy to be there.

“It didn’t matter what position or role you had on the team, you were all there to win,” Hoagland said. “I think that’s great to bring back [home] because we are so young.”

Because of her efforts the last two seasons and her work on the USA national team, Hoagland was named to the watch list for the USA National Softball Player of the Year award, which is awarded by the Amateur Softball Association of America each year. “[They’re] great achievements but you just got to keep going on, it never stops,” Hoagland said.

“And when it does you just got to get back on the horse and get back to it.”

Printed on Thursday, February 9, 2012 as: Hoagland brings leadership, experience to this year's team 

Outfielder Cohl Walla swings at a pitch. Walla tore his ACL in a collision during practice last week and isn’t expected to play this season. He hit .229 last season.

Photo Credit: John Smith | Daily Texan Staff

Junior outfielder Cohl Walla has torn his ACL and will miss this upcoming season.

The injury took place during a collision in the outfield during a practice last week.

Walla played in 50 games last season, batting .229 and notching 18 RBI. The former two-sport star at Lake Travis enjoyed a much better freshman campaign, hitting .316 while racking up eight home runs, 20 extra-base hits, 14 stolen bases and posting a .491 slugging percentage.

Walla earned a spot on Baseball America's second-team freshman All-American team in 2010 and checked in at No. 65 on College Baseball Daily's preseason list of 2011 Top 100 college baseball players, joining teammates Taylor Jungmann and Cole Green.

The Longhorns were set to bring back all three of their starting outfielders with sophomore right fielder Mark Payton and junior left fielder Jonathan Walsh returning to Austin this year. The vacancy in center field could be filled by a few players. Senior outfielder Tim Maitland, who has been used as a defensive replacement most of his first three years at Texas, has batted .190, driven in nine runs and registered one extra-base hit in 79 career at-bats.

Two new players could also fill the void left by Walla in freshman Collin Shaw and junior college transfer Matt Moynihan, who has two years of eligibility left but has not yet been cleared academically. Shaw, like Walla, is a local product who lettered in both football and baseball in high school.

The 6-foot, 195-pound Shaw batted .487 and hit seven home runs as a senior for Westlake, earning him second-team All-State honors while garnering All-District accolades as a wide receiver for the Chaparrals during his junior and senior seasons. Walla, who was taken in the 43rd round by the Washington Nationals after graduating from Lake Travis was also a high school wideout. He caught 65 passes for 1,009 yards and 12 touchdowns — from former Longhorn quarterback Garrett Gilbert ­— during the Cavaliers' 2007 state title run, the first of five consecutive championships.

Printed on Monday, February 6, 2012 as: Walla likely to miss season with knee injury

Last season, junior outfielder Courtney Craig set the Texas single-season home run record with 13.

However, an early season injury benched the California native for most of nonconference play. So far this season, junior first baseman Lexy Bennett has been headlining the Texas offense, but after she sustained an injury this past weekend, the Longhorns needed someone to step up.

In the Longhorns’ 8-0 shutout of the UT-Arlington Mavericks on Tuesday, junior Courtney Craig went 3-3, connected for two home runs and had four RBIs. This marked the second multiple home run game of her career. Craig is now tied for sixth on the Texas career home runs record list.

“It means a lot with her being able to come back, because she was one of the best hitters last year, and we need that in the Big 12,” said freshman Brejae Washington. “It makes the team really confident with her being in the lineup.”

Although Craig started as the designated hitter on Tuesday, she came in to play left field early in the game. While on defense, she made several key plays that allowed sophomore starting pitcher Blaire Luna to relax in the circle. Despite her contributions in the field, her offensive performance was what she was most excited about.

“I have really been working on my offense, getting back after my injury,” Craig said. “The inside pitch has really been getting me in the past couple of weeks and I have really just been working on that mentally and physically. Just getting that inside pitch down and giving myself some room to do what I can do.”

Craig also admitted that her performance at the plate Tuesday evening was not all a result of talent. She employed a different mindset going into the game.

“I think I was more relaxed and was just having fun,” Craig said. “I have had some frustration lately, and I was just having fun out there tonight.”

Head coach Connie Clark said it was not a coincidence that the Texas offense, and most notably Craig, stepped up to replace Bennett. Before the game, the team discussed that the entire team needed to step up to replace what Bennett was able to do both on defense and at the plate. Craig, who is getting back to full range of ability after her injury, really took that to heart.

“It was Courtney that was hurt, and now she’s really starting to feel 100 percent and see the ball well and get more at-bats under her belt,” said Clark. “It is obviously great timing and we need it. She is looking really good.”

Courtney Craig takes her time running the bases after hitting one of her two home runs in Texas’ 8-0 win on Tuesday. The junior turned in her second career multiple homer performance as she picked up the scoring slack for the Longhorns in the wake of Lexy Bennett’s injury.

Photo Credit: Shannon Kintner | Daily Texan Staff

Last season, junior outfielder Courtney Craig set the Texas single-season home run record with 13.

However, an early season injury benched the California native for most of nonconference play. So far this season, junior first baseman Lexy Bennett has been headlining the Texas offense, but after she sustained an injury this past weekend, the Longhorns needed someone to step up.

In the Longhorns’ 8-0 shutout of the UT-Arlington Mavericks on Tuesday, junior Courtney Craig went 3-3, connected for two home runs and had four RBIs. This marked the second multiple home run game of her career. Craig is now tied for sixth on the Texas career home runs record list.

“It means a lot with her being able to come back, because she was one of the best hitters last year, and we need that in the Big 12,” said freshman Brejae Washington. “It makes the team really confident with her being in the lineup.”

Although Craig started as the designated hitter on Tuesday, she came in to play left field early in the game. While on defense, she made several key plays that allowed sophomore starting pitcher Blaire Luna to relax in the circle. Despite her contributions in the field, her offensive performance was what she was most excited about.

“I have really been working on my offense, getting back after my injury,” Craig said. “The inside pitch has really been getting me in the past couple of weeks and I have really just been working on that mentally and physically. Just getting that inside pitch down and giving myself some room to do what I can do.”

Craig also admitted that her performance at the plate Tuesday evening was not all a result of talent. She employed a different mindset going into the game.

“I think I was more relaxed and was just having fun,” Craig said. “I have had some frustration lately, and I was just having fun out there tonight.”

Head coach Connie Clark said it was not a coincidence that the Texas offense, and most notably Craig, stepped up to replace Bennett. Before the game, the team discussed that the entire team needed to step up to replace what Bennett was able to do both on defense and at the plate. Craig, who is getting back to full range of ability after her injury, really took that to heart.

“It was Courtney that was hurt, and now she’s really starting to feel 100 percent and see the ball well and get more at-bats under her belt,” said Clark. “It is obviously great timing and we need it. She is looking really good.”