In each of Texas’ Mary Nutter Classic matches this weekend, sophomore UTIL Lindsey Stephens stood out.
Stephens was only 4-for-13 in those games, but each of her four hits — a go-ahead double and three home runs — were crucial for the Longhorns.
The Beaumont-native’s clutch performances weren’t enough, though, as her team managed just two wins in five games at the tournament.
Against UNLV (5-8) on Thursday, Stephens gave the Longhorns (8-9) a 2-1 lead in the third inning on a sacrifice fly. They held the lead until the bottom of the fifth, when the Rebels drew consecutive two-out walks and then hit two singles to take a 3-2 lead. But in the top of the seventh, senior first baseman Karina Scott drove in senior shortstop Taylor Thom to tie the game before Stephens brought in Scott on a double to center. A determined UNLV team fought back once again in the bottom of the inning with two RBI singles to take a 5-4 walk-off win.
The Longhorns came back with a vengeance against Cal Poly, dominating the Mustangs 13-7 in the double-header Game 2. Texas offense came to life in the top of the fourth when five of six batters reached base. With a grand slam, Stephens propelled Texas to a seven-run inning.
The strong offensive output didn’t carry over to Friday against No. 3 Washington. The Huskies got on the board first in the top of the second, scoring two runs on an error by sophomore outfielder Stephanie Ceo. On an RBI single, Washington took the early 3-0 lead. Texas fought within one on a two-run home run by Stephens, but the Longhorns stranded runners and fell short of the tying run.
Saturday, the Texas offense found its stride once again, buoyed by a strong pitching performance from junior Gabby Smith. The Longhorns struck first in inning one on a Smith sacrifice fly. Stephens added two insurance runs in the third on another two-run home run — her seventh of the season. In the 5-0 win over Fresno State, Smith needed no other runs. She allowed only one hit while striking out six batters.
The roller coaster weekend came to a close Sunday against Cal. After a Golden Bears’ early 2-0 lead in the first inning off of an RBI double, the Longhorns tied the game the same inning. Cal reclaimed the lead in the third off of a two-run homer by junior pitcher Jordan Wallace and held it through for a 5-2 win.