Double in fifth helps Longhorns flex Big 12 muscles

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Courtney Craig dashes to first base after hitting a ball down the third base line. The hit was a three-run bases-loaded double in the fifth frame that gave Texas a lead it never gave up.

Photo Credit: Rebeca Rodriguez | Daily Texan Staff

The game started out slowly for the first time all season, but the Longhorns scraped together five runs in the fifth inning to come out with the 9-5 win over the Missouri Tigers in game one of a three game series.

“I think it’s definitely what we needed,” senior right fielder Courtney Craig said of their comeback victory. “It’s something that makes us different from teams in years before. We’ve been challenged [this season] and in years before we haven’t been able to come back. This year we’ve needed to see it over and over again to get us ready for more games.”

The No. 3 Longhorns extended their winning streak to 10 games Thursday evening bringing their season record to 32-2 and 6-0 in Big 12 Conference play. After a streak of non-conference competition, the Longhorns’ only remaining opponents for the 2012 season are of conference caliber.

“You have to give it to them. They kept fighting all the way until the end,” said senior left fielder Torie Schmidt. “We’ve been pretty consistently good at not letting things get to us and shaking things off. Teams have been scoring before us and we’ve stayed calm. We don’t let it get to us.”

Junior All-American pitcher Blaire Luna spent all seven innings in the circle for the Longhorns. She gave up five runs off of seven hits, the most she’s given up all season. Luna had an impressive eight strike outs in seven innings and is now 13-1 with a 1.43 ERA.

Freshman pitcher and designated player Gabby Smith scored the first run in the fifth inning to break the scoring drought for the Longhorns. The initial run was scored off a two RBI single by Schmidt with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning. Schmidt went 3-for-3 with two runs and three RBIs. Craig contributed three RBIs to the win off of her 1-for-4 night.

“The pitches were just coming inside and it was jamming me up on both at-bats,” Craig said. “I went into the dugout and told myself to focus. ... I set the play up a little bit, made an adjustment, kept my hands inside and did what I needed to do for my team.”

Senior third baseman Nadia Taylor also had a successful and productive offensive night as she went 2-for-3 for the night. Taylor has been on a hot streak lately after her record setting three double performance against New Mexico last weekend.

“She has been on a streak lately and got us all a hit,” Craig said. “When one person on our team hits, the energy starts going. It’s a domino effect. Nadia really started that and the team really kept going with it.”

Game two against Missouri comes at 7 p.m. Friday evening with the conclusion coming Saturday.