Only one week away from the beginning of Big 12 play, the Longhorns realize the time is now to fine-tune their game before a difficult conference slate.
Although a weekend tournament in Charleston, South Carolina, offered a chance for Texas to do just that, the trip produced a bag of mixed results.
Dropping its final game, 1-0, to the Georgetown Hoyas, Texas (12–13) combined to score only six runs over its four games, finishing the three-day tournament at 2–2.
“We chatted pretty specifically about them figuring out that the bar is higher at Texas,” Texas head coach Connie Clark said. “Team 2018 needs to figure out how they’re going to hit it, to be quite honest.”
On Sunday, the Longhorns left nine runners on base against the Hoyas, including six in the first three innings.
The Longhorns’ offense appeared primed to score in the first inning, loading the bases in the bottom of the frame. But Georgetown pitcher Anna Brooks Pacha worked around the remaining hitters to get out of the inning unscathed.
While the Longhorn hitters failed to capitalize, junior pitcher Brooke Bolinger dazzled in the circle. In her first six innings of work, the former Nevada transfer put together an impressive effort, giving up only two hits and no runs.
But Georgetown finally broke the pitchers’ duel up in the top of the seventh. Following a two-out single, freshman shortstop Savannah Jones stepped to the plate and drove a long shot to left field that escaped sophomore left fielder Kaitlyn Washington’s glove as she collided with the wall. It gave Georgetown a 1-0 lead, and eventually the victory.
Saturday featured much better results for the Longhorns, as they went 2–0 with victories over Jacksonville State and the College of Charleston.
“I really thought they showed up (Saturday) with a lot narrower focus and put themselves in the moment,” Clark said. “We were able to execute the little things, and that’s what it’s been about.”
Against Jacksonville State, freshman pitcher Chloe Romero earned her first victory as a Longhorn. Sophomore catcher Taylor Ellsworth delivered an RBI double that helped the Texas offense put together its finest performance of the tournament in a 4-2 win.
Facing College of Charleston in the afternoon, senior pitcher Paige von Sprecken delivered another gem for the Longhorns, going the distance in a seven-inning shutout that featured two strikeouts and only one run.
Going into the seventh inning in a scoreless tie, the Longhorns got a much-needed run in the seventh when senior pinch hitter Randel Leahy ripped an RBI triple to score Washington, giving Texas the deciding run.
Friday, however, was a much different story for Texas. The Longhorns suffered their toughest loss of the tournament in a 5-1 decision to Eastern Illinois.
Eastern Illinois jumped out to an early lead over the Longhorns in the first inning when freshman designated player Kendyl McKeough doubled to left field to claim a 2-0 lead over Texas. After Texas’ defensive miscues allowed another run to cross in the third inning, Eastern Illinois added its final runs of the evening in the fourth with a solo home run and an RBI single.
Tedder scored the lone run of the night for Texas, sending a solo home run over the left-field wall for her first home run as a Longhorn.
Texas returns to action on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. when it hosts Texas State at McCombs Field.