Longhorns challenge rival A&M for the last time

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Junior pitcher Blaire Luna hurls a pitch towards home plate in a recent home game against Oklahoma State. Luna is 16-3 this season, including 14 complete games. She also leads the Longhorns with 185 strikeouts and owns a 2.06 ERA in 25 total appearances in 2012.

Photo Credit: Raveena Bhalara | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns start their last stand against their longtime rival Texas A&M tonight in College Station this weekend.

The State Farm Lone Star Showdown, as it has been called for the past eight years, is all the athletic competitions between the two rivals. Currently A&M leads the overall series 19-18 in softball, with both teams sporting winning records on their respective home fields. In five of the past seven Lone Star Showdowns, the Longhorns have won the trophy and expect to do the same this weekend. Texas is ahead in this year’s showdown standings 9.0-4.0. The team that wins the series gets one point and the team that gets to 10 points wins the showdown.

Coming into tonight’s game, the Aggies are 31-14 overall with a 11-6 record in the Big 12. As a team they are batting .280 with a staff ERA of 2.51. The leader on the mound for Texas A&M is Mel Dumezich, who is 22-10 on the season. She holds a 1.98 ERA with 23 complete games. In her 211 and 1/3 innings pitched, she has tallied 244 strikeouts while giving up 60 earned runs.

The Longhorns, currently ranked No. 7 in the country, just finished a strong weekend against Oklahoma State. They won the series, taking two games out of three, proving their strength in the conference. Texas goes into the series sixth in the nation in batting average (.338) and look to continue its hot hitting against the Aggies.

Blaire Luna currently leads the Longhorns on the mound and is expected to make at least one appearance in this weekend’s series. After a little trouble against Baylor, the junior came back with a strong game against Oklahoma State, where she muscled through to get the win.

“I really liked what I saw from Blaire. She’s been a work-in-progress over the last few weeks,” said Connie Clark, head coach. “Really, each of her last five outings has been a little bit better, in one regard or the other. Today, she had pretty solid command. She was very much pitch-to-pitch and very confident.”

That is exactly what is expected of her this weekend, too. As a leader without the captain title, she brings a force to the team that some can’t. While shutting out the opposing team’s offense, she brings confidence to the team.

As the Longhorns get ready for their last showdown with their longtime rival, the series between them and the Aggies will always be remembered. The overall record of the series shows how well played all the games have been, and no matter what team comes out on top this weekend, both respect and admire the other for its competitive abilities and strong play.

Printed on Thursday, April 26, 2012 as: Horns make final trip to College Station to face Aggies