The No. 6 Longhorns dropped two of three to the No. 1 Sooners at packed Red and Charline McComb’s field this weekend.
After losing the opener 6-1, the Longhorns bounced back on Saturday to even the series with a 4-2 win, which left the series to be decided in the rubber match Sunday.
After playing with fire and getting through the first four innings of that rubber match with just two runs given, Blaire Luna finally allowed the big hit. With the Sooners up 2-1 in the fifth, Brittany Williams delivered the back-breaking two-out, two-run double to break the game open. One inning later, Shelby Pendley added her second homer of the game to take the air out of the crowd.
With a four-run lead and last year’s player of the year Keilani Ricketts dealing, it looked as though the game and the series were over.
But that’s not the way the Longhorns saw it.
“Our team gathered some momentum late in the game,” assistant coach Corrie Hill said. “The spark in our dugout was great. The chatter was great. There was talk about comebacks we had in the past.”
After one run in the sixth, the Longhorns staged a furious rally in the seventh against arguably the game’s best pitcher. Karina Scott got hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Kim Bruins followed that with a single. After a fielder’s choice, Torie Schmidt singled in a run, cutting the deficit to two and chasing Ricketts for Michelle Gascoigne.
Pinch hitter Erin Shireman walked to load the bases for the team’s best hitter — Taylor Hoagland.
The players got out of the dugout and began leading the crowd in Texas Fight. The crowd was back into the game.
With a full count, Hoagland saw a pitched she liked, jumped on it and just missed.
“I have hit that ball 7 million times, and this time it wasn’t in my favor,” Hoagland said. “It’s an awful feeling, similar to that last year against Oregon.”
That left it all up to Brejae Washington.
But she struck out to the end the game in disappointing fashion.
“It’s always disappointing to lose a game like that,” Hoagland said. “But we can only learn from it.”
The loss sends the Longhorns to 39-6 overall and 9-2 in conference. Oklahoma has a full game lead in the division and owns the tiebreaker now, making it very difficult for the Longhorns to claim their first Big 12 championship since 2010.
However, the loss doesn’t crush the hopes for the Longhorns as they still plan on playing deep into the year.
“We plan on being in Oklahoma City for the World Series, standing right next to Oklahoma,” assistant coach Corrie Hill said.