She’s not one of the big names on the Longhorn roster and she doesn’t normally make headlines. She’s not one of the players who holds multiple school, conference and national records, and she is not often recognized for her talents on the field. But without Torie Schmidt covering left field and her left-handed stance at the plate, the Longhorns would be at a huge disadvantage.
The junior outfielder may be overshadowed by some of her more well-known teammates such as All-American pitcher Blaire Luna, Texas career RBI record holder and leading batter Lexy Bennett, or U.S. national team member and power hitter Taylor Hoagland, but Schmidt can hold her own.
She showed her importance to the team during the seven-for-10 performance she turned in this past weekend. Despite dropping the series 2-1 to Missouri, Schmidt found a way to succeed at the plate to give the Longhorns the best chance against the Tigers.
“I went up there with an aggressive mindset,” Schmidt said of her high production at the plate. “Going up, taking hacks at the first strikes I saw.”
The impressive stats against Missouri are hardly the first that she has turned in. Currently, Schmidt is tied with sophomore Karina Scott for second on the Longhorns with an individual batting average of .403. The team’s average is .361. She currently holds a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage after ending the 2011 season as one of the two regular starters to finish perfectly in the field.
Aggression seems to be a constant in Schmidt’s style of play. Texas head coach Connie Clark has praised the way her team attacks the game, and Schmidt contributes to that force.
“We have a high percentage of kids that have great speed and great intelligence on the bases and we like to take advantage of that,” Clark said. “We know we can run on most teams, and obviously we [have] had success with that. We were going to come out and attack right away.”
In fact, Schmidt’s speed and ability to jump-start a slow performing offensive series is why coach Clark recruited her to Texas back in the fall of 2008.
“Torie brings speed and a left-handed option to our offense,” Clark said after Schmidt signed her letter of intent. “She has the ability to provide a spark with her short game, but she can also drive the ball very well.”
Another unique characteristic that Schmidt brings to the team is the fact that she is a left handed batter. Schmidt and sophomore Brejae Washington are the only returning members from the 2011 squad that can bat left handed, and the only two consistently in the Longhorn’s starting lineup. Several freshmen are listed as left-handers but they haven’t seen much action this season.
When Schmidt arrived in the fall of 2009, she was one of the first left-handed batters in recent memory to come to Texas, making the Longhorns more versatile at the plate.
However, her career at Texas didn’t blossom overnight. During her freshman year, Schmidt started just 12 games scattered throughout the 2010 season, although she came off the bench to contribute in 31 additional games. She didn’t see any consistent action until 2011, her sophomore season. Since then, she has started in all but seven games and played in all but two.
Now as a junior, Schmidt is a constant presence in the left field for the Longhorns and a formidable presence in the batter’s box.
“I’ve worked really hard for this and I’m proud of myself,” Schmidt said. “I know my family is proud of me. They get to come watch me at [the] California tournaments and tell people, ‘My daughter is the starting left-fielder at Texas.’”