WACO — One of the hardest things for a freshman to do is limit one bad play from becoming two or three bad plays.
But freshman pitcher Tiarra Davis can bounce right back after a bad play, she proved again Saturday. After not allowing a hit through the first three innings, Davis gave up a solo home run to start the bottom of the fourth and cut the Texas lead to 3-1.
She then retired the next three batters and allowed only one other hit to help the Longhorns defeat No. 12 Baylor 4-1 to open Big 12 play.
“With this being the start of conference play, I went out with the mindset that this is a clean start,” Davis said.
Texas was supposed to play the second game in the series on Sunday, but it was postponed because of rain and has not been rescheduled as of press time.
On Saturday, the first three innings went smoothly for Davis in the circle. She opened by striking out the first two batters, only allowing a base runner on a two-out walk in the third.
But to start the fourth inning, Davis went to a full count against second baseman Ari Hawkins. Hawkins hit the next pitch over the wall in center field.
Head coach Connie Clark walked out to the circle to reassure Davis.
“[Davis] was behind in the count and the only thing that beats you when you’re up three to nothing is if you start issuing the free passes,” Clark said.
So Davis settled down, retiring the next three batters in the inning. In the sixth, Davis gave up a two-out walk and an error which placed runners at the corners, but got a fly out to right to end the threat.
“I knew they were going to hit the ball and then finally [Hawkins] hit the ball, so I reset and just moved on,” Davis said.
At the plate, the Longhorns (19-15, Big 12 1-0) threatened to score in each of the first three innings, getting a runner to second, but failed to break the scoreless tie. But in the fourth inning, freshman left fielder Stephanie Wong reached on a bunt hit and freshman first baseman Holly Kern reached on an error, positioning Texas runners on second and third with one out.
After a foul out by Davis, sophomore catcher Mandy Ogle finally opened the scoring with a three-run shot to right field.
“She saw the ball extremely well today,” Clark said.
Texas added another run in the top of the seventh inning when Davis singled up the middle to score Wong.
After a tough up-and-down nonconference schedule, Texas opens conference play 1-0 for the seventh straight season.
“The practice games are over and it’s about chasing championships,” Clark said.
The Longhorns next play Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Wednesday at home.