Good teams find a way to prevail in tight matchups. On Saturday morning, in the first close game of the year for the Texas, the Longhorns came through in the clutch, defeating No. 18 Kentucky on a walk-off RBI single from first baseman Kaitlyn Washington.
Washington’s hit finished off what was an important response by this team, both within the game and the season. Moments earlier, Kentucky tied up the game with a solo homerun in the top of the seventh inning. Pitcher Brooke Bolinger came onto the mound in relief for pitcher/designated player Miranda Elish and got out of the inning.
But in a game that was decided by some timely hitting from each side, Washington ensured the Longhorns came out on top.
After the season’s first loss, a 7-1 blowout at the hands of LSU on Friday, the Longhorns’ response in a closely matched victory against a ranked team could not have come at a better time.
Elish again played a massive role in the victory, allowing just one earned run in six innings against the Wildcats while striking out 10 of the 26 batters she faced. Moreover, she delivered a bases-loaded double to left field in the sixth inning, giving the Longhorns the lead late in the game.
Elish has emerged as a huge storyline for Texas in the early goings of the season after her transfer from Oregon, producing on both sides. Through eight games, Elish leads the team in ERA at 0.41, all the while leading in batting average at .500.
“Miranda’s a competitor. She is the most competitive person I’ve ever met in my entire life, and that says something,” catcher Mary Iakopo said before the weekend’s tournament. “Miranda goes out there and competes everyday on that mound, and no one is going to beat her at anything.”
After the season’s first four road games, it’s a return home for the Longhorns next weekend, where they went 4-0 at the Texas Classic one week ago. This weekend, the Texas Invitational will feature Ole Miss, Tulsa, Sam Houston State and Houston Baptist as the Longhorns will try to improve on their excellent early season 7-1 record.