Back-to-back home runs for Texas in the third inning against Wisconsin were somewhat of a déjà vu for the Badger pitcher, Kaitlyn Menz.
Outfielder Reagan Hathaway and catcher Taylor Ellsworth, hit consecutive homers off of Menz when Texas hosted Wisconsin in the 2018 Texas Classic. Today, senior Bekah Alcozer and junior Miranda Elish were able to do the same, giving the Longhorns a 5-0 lead that would win them the game.
“It's super fun. I think our team is really competitive but you also can't dwell on the person and what they do in front of you,” Elish said. “We get a plus on our blueprint if we get a hit on our home run so I was just going to a hit and it happened to be a home run.”
The Longhorns won their first two games of the Sun Devil Classic, defeating the Badgers and Sun Devils 5–1 and 11–4 respectively.
Throughout today’s games, Texas showcased its depth in the circle. Against Wisconsin, senior Brooke Bolinger played a complete game, striking out a season high of 10.
“I thought she did a great job against the big hitters, really kind of neutralized them and was mixing speeds,” head coach Mike White said of Bolinger's performance. “She enabled us to get in the position to shut them down for most of the game.”
Bolinger allowed Wisconsin to get just one on the board in the bottom of the sixth.
“She just made one mistake on one hitter and really that was my fault,” White said. “It was a bad call and that happens sometimes.”
In Texas’ second victory of the day over ASU, Elish was a force at both ends of the ball.
“I felt great,” Elish said. “Mary was doing an awesome job behind the plate getting me strikes and defense was making all the plays, and Coach White and I were really on the same page with calls.”
The Oregon transfer had 14 strikeouts against ASU and gave her team a huge lead by hitting a base clearing double to bring the score to 6-0. At the top of the third inning, she had batted in 4 out of Texas’ 6 runs.
“I was just looking to drive in runs for my team,” Elish said. “I know ASU is a great team and the balls fly here, so we had to take advantage of runners on base.”
The Longhorns made program history by hitting consecutive home runs in two games on the same day. Against Arizona State, it was catcher Mary Iakopo and Lauren Burke who hit the ball out of the park to extend Texas’ lead to 9-2.
Texas continued to stay offensively dominant throughout the rest of the game. With 11 runs against No. 15 Arizona State, the Longhorns notched their highest run total against a ranked team since 2015 when they defeated No. 22 Kansas 11-5.
Despite the huge win, coach White isn’t letting his team become complacent when it comes to the rest of the tournament.
“I tell them we got stuff to work on … and that’s tracking the ball, seeing different speeds of the pitches. The game doesn’t know we won two today, its gonna reward the team that plays the best tomorrow,” White said. “I’m sure ASU will be ready on Sunday for us so I’m looking forward to that matchup as well.”
The Longhorns will face Princeton at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow and will see Wisconsin again at 1:30 p.m. On Sunday, they matchup against ASU at 1:30 p.m. to close out the tournament.