The Longhorns bounced back from a less than spectacular performance in the Mary Nutter Classic to go an impressive 5-0 in this weekend’s Texas Invitational, outscoring their opponents by a combined score of 42-6.
Texas led a balanced attack with superior play on both sides of the ball. Pitchers combined to allow only 14 hits and six runs while striking out 34 through five games. Longhorn batters were just as tenacious at the plate, scoring 42 runs on 64 hits.
Freshman utility Lindsey Stephens was stellar for the Longhorns, leading the team with 12 hits and 10 RBIs as she extended her streak to 24 straight games on base. Senior shortstop Taylor Thom reached a milestone 200th career hit against Southern Mississippi on Friday. Thom also moved up on the Texas all-time RBI list, tying alumna Taylor Hoagland for second.
The dual threat didn’t stop there. After starting the entire tournament in left field, freshman second baseman Stephanie Wong exploded with seven hits and four RBIs, including the first two-run homer of her collegiate career.
Head coach Connie Clark’s team finally advanced runners into scoring position with ease after struggling earlier in the season.
“We really focused on hitting with runners on base,” Clark said of the previous week’s practices. “When somebody came up to the plate, we would load the bases or there were runners at second and third just to simulate getting runs across, and we did a great job with that tonight.”
Junior pitcher Gabby Smith and freshman pitcher Tiarra Davis provided a dynamic pitching duo for the Longhorns (13-9).
“Gabby and Tiarra were really pounding the mitt, throwing a lot of strikes and getting great movement,” Clark said. “They’re able to offset each other with the righty and the lefty, mixing speeds effectively and just doing the things we need them to do to keep us in games. They’ve emerged, and I love what we’re getting from them right now.”
Freshman second baseman Kelli Hanzel has found a recent spark at the plate. Hanzel got her first career hit and RBI in a walk-off single to right field against Texas Southern, en route to a run rule. Hanzel then singled against Texas Southern, before scoring on sophomore pitcher Holly Kern’s triple to center field.
Reaching the century mark, senior catcher Mandy Ogle notched her 100th career hit with an RBI single to right field that scored Kern. The Longhorns then loaded the bases before senior Brejae Washington’s walk-off sac fly secured the win.
Texas is now 11-0 this season in games with six or more runs. Its four straight run-rule wins this weekend happened for just the second time in school history.