Longhorns easily handle first conference test

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Sophomore Brejae Washington tripled to right center in the sixth inning last night, allowing Taylor Hoagland to score. Washington has had a hit in each of the last six games. The Longhorns scored at least one run in each inning during their win over Texas Tech.

Photo Credit: Nathan Goldsmith | Daily Texan Staff

Based on the outcome of the game, you would not know Big 12 conference play had begun.

The No. 6 Longhorns easily shut out Texas Tech with a final score of 8-0 in their Big 12 conference season opener on Tuesday night. Like many games earlier in the season, the Longhorns ended this contest early when sophomore Brejae Washington’s RBI double brought junior designated player Taylor Hoagland home and the Texas point total to eight, inducing a run-rule.

The win against the Red Raiders brings the Longhorns to a record of 18-1 on the season and 1-0 in Big 12 conference play. The two conference foes will face each other again this afternoon at 4 p.m. for the second game of the two game series.

“We really did not talk about it,” said Texas head coach Connie Clark about starting conference play against Texas Tech so early in the season. “We really just come out and focus on what we need to do regardless of who the opponent is or regardless if it is conference or nonconference. I think it was certainly on the back of the players’ minds, but we are not focusing on it.”

The Texas offense had 12 hits on the night including a home run by sophomore first baseman Karina Scott. Senior outfielder Courtney Craig, who was named Big 12 Player of the Week for her performance against Sam Houston State University this past weekend, went 2-for-2 and had one RBI.

Five different Longhorns ended the night with at least two hits each. Along with Scott and Craig, junior left fielder Torie Schmidt went 2-3 on the night and had a team high two RBIs.

“It was a good team effort,” Clark said. “I thought we made quick adjustments at the plate so I thought we looked very solid offensively ... They have applied things they have learned early in the season and that is what I am most excited about.”

In the circle, junior All-American Blaire Luna pitched a solid six innings without giving up a run. Luna, along with battery mate sophomore catcher Mandy Ogle, gave up just three hits while fanning eight. Luna extended her season record to 8-0 and lowered her season ERA to 0.71, which is the team low.

Luna’s success comes in spite of a minor nagging injury that occurred a few weeks ago to her arm.

“She is just getting better and better,” Clark said of Luna. “She’s been able to get some consistency in her workouts over the last week and I think that really showed up tonight. If she can stay healthy, she is as good as anyone in the country and we are lucky to have her.”

Printed on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 as: Texas begins Big 12 play with convincing win