Southern California

Ratnika Batra collected three wins over the weekend in Southern California, advancing to the qualifying round of the ITA All-American Championships, one of three national championship events on the college tennis calendar. 

Batra did what the Texas football team could not do against Ole Miss this season: win. The freshman from New Delhi, India beat Erin Stephens in straight sets to start her Saturday.

In her second match, Batra faced University of Southern California’s Kaitlyn Christian, ranked No. 86 in singles and No. 1 in doubles. She quickly
defeated the Trojan tennis player (6-2, 6-1) to advance to the pre-qualifying round of 16.

Batra played against Big 12 foe No. 116 Nikki Sanders of Texas Tech on Sunday. Batra outlasted Sanders in two long, competitive sets (7-5, 7-6), advancing to the qualifying draw.

“It was a gritty performance from Ratnika today,” assistant coach Darija Klaic said.  “Ratnika played flawlessly on Saturday, but today was a different day and a different story, but Ratnika managed to keep the match on track. She fought through it all and was the last one standing at the end of a tough battle.”

With two wins over ranked opponents, Batra improved to 4-1 in singles competition. Her next match is Tuesday at the Riviera Tennis Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Author T. Coraghessan Boyle signs one of his books for a fan on Thursday afternoon after finishing his talk on one of his short stories titled “The Lie.”  

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

Author T. Coraghessan Boyle is no stranger to reading stories aloud, and Thursday night he shared some stories of his own at the Applied Computational Engineering and Sciences Building. Boyle, who is an English professor at the University of Southern California, has written 23 books of fiction, one of which won an award for best novel in 1988. 

At the talk, Boyle read from one of his short stories titled “The Lie” and answered questions from the audience afterward.

“My love of reading stories aloud comes from two sources. One of them is my mother,” Boyle said. Boyle also credits a grade-school teacher for inspiring his love of reading. 

Boyle first discussed his most recent novel, “San Miguel,” which is named for a small barren island located off the coast of Southern California. Boyle said he gained inspiration for “San Miguel” in part from the island’s proximity to his home near Santa Barbara, Calif.

“The subjects I choose often have to do with the environment and how we approach it,” Boyle said. 

The novel is told entirely from the viewpoint of women, and Boyle said he wanted to write a straightforward and realistic novel without sarcasm or irony. 

After reading “The Lie,” Boyle shared his experiences researching past stories.

“You just need to know. Some stories you need to know more than others, but you just need to know,” Boyle said. “Every story finds its own voice in its own way.”

The talk was hosted by the Michener Center for Writers, a three-year master’s writing program at UT-Austin. 

Radio-television-film senior Malina Panovich said she attended because she is a fan of Boyle.

“He’s such an entertaining presenter,” Panovich said. “Every answer had a little quip with it.”

She said it was exciting to see Boyle in person after reading his novels and stories and said the event provided an opportunity to introduce others to Boyle’s work.

“Meeting the actual person inspires something that reading about them can’t,” Panovich said.

Kristen Henderson, a psychology student at Austin Community College, said it was surreal to see Boyle in person, but relieving to see that he has experiences just like other people. Henderson said it is important for students to attend talks by speakers like Boyle because they can learn from their advice.

“I think it’s nice for schools to put things like this together, because it leaves these people open to students,” Hendersen said. 

News Briefly

SEAL BEACH, Calif. — Southern California police are trying to determine the motive in a shooting that has killed six people and critically wounded three others in a hair salon in the city of Seal Beach.

Police Sgt. Steve Bowles says a man was taken into custody near the scene and investigators are trying to
determine if he has a relationship to the salon or anyone there.

A witness to the Wednesday afternoon shooting described the man and officers detained him as he was driving away.
Bowles says it’s not clear if the victims were employees or patrons, but he says the salon was busy.

He says some people escaped the business with-out harm.

­— Compiled from Associated Press reports

After a promising start to the season, Texas took a step back over the past three weeks. Losses to Ohio State, North Carolina, Southern California and Virginia have spoiled the Longhorns’ perfect season, but with conference play starting, they can regain their confidence and re-establish themselves as an elite team in a rugged Big 12.

With five teams in the top 30, conference play will give Texas a great opportunity to get the season back on track, starting today against Oklahoma. The Sooners are ranked No. 30 in the nation and are entering the match at 9-3 fresh off a 4-3 win over TCU after also suffering a loss to Virginia a week ago.

Texas’ most recent outing featured a loss to Virginia on Sunday and then a shutout win against St. Edwards that same night. The Longhorns’ doubles game has been amongst the best in the nation and will be key if they are to have success in conference. Led by the duo of senior Ed Corrie and junior Jean Andersen, Texas has won the last seven doubles points and has only dropped one all season ­­— to Illinois. While the doubles game play has been elite, its singles players haven’t been able to find the same kind of consistency. At the ITA National Team Indoor Championship in February, Corrie posted wins against multiple top-five opponents, but he has not been able to get back to that same level since. Fellow senior Kellen Damico stepped into the No. 2 slot and performed well in the lineup with Andersen out.

If it can live up to its potential in the singles game, Texas can once again be amongst the nation’s elite, but until then, Texas will rely on its doubles game to give it the lead in matches and pick up singles wins where it can get them.

———

No. 4 Texas at No. 10 Oklahoma
Date: Friday
Time: 6 p.m.
Place: Headington Family Tennis Center
(Norman, Okla.)

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.”