They made it look easy. After a grueling five-game stretch that consisted of three ranked teams, the No. 6 Longhorns cruised through a double header against in-state rival Texas State.
Texas started off the night with a quick 5-0 shutout victory against the Bobcats and finished similar fashion with another 7-0 shutout. With the wins, Texas improved to 14-1 on the season as it head into a three-game series against Sam Houston State this weekend.
“I think we wanted to stay strong. We came off of a hard week in California,” said senior second baseman Lexy Bennett. “It is a grind going into yesterday’s practice just coming off of traveling and then having a double header tonight. It is pretty tough on our bodies. I think pushing and finishing were important and trying to stay consistent through the two games.”
Junior right-hander Blaire Luna led off in the circle for the Longhorns in game one. Luna registered 13 strikeouts and only gave up one hit through almost six innings of work. Junior Kim Bruins came in as relief in the sixth inning, but the win went to Luna, who is now 6-0 on the season.
Although wild pitching, hit batters and other such abnormalities contributed to the Texas score, the Texas offense still was as sharp as it’s been all season. Bennett once again lived up to hype by powering her fourth home run of the season deep over left field. The offense ended game one with nine hits in total.
In game two, freshman pitcher Gabby Smith started off in the circle for just over four innings before sophomore Rachel Fox came in as relief. Smith has not given up a run all season — she has pitched just over 15 scoreless innings and leads the team in ERA at 0.00. Fox was credited with the win.
In 14 innings, the Texas offense did not let up steam. The Longhorns had nine hits in the second game bring the night’s total to 18. Senior outfielder Courtney Craig led the offense through game going 2-for-4 with four RBI. Craig also logged her second home run of the season. Junior outfielder Taylor Hoagland also had a successful night with three hits and two runs scored.
“Hoagland specifically stands out in my mind tonight,” Texas head coach Connie Clark said. “She hit the ball hard tonight but did not have a lot to show for it, but that is part of the game. Overall, I thought we stayed consistent. We never settled for the runs on the scoreboard. We just kept competing offensively.”
So far this season, the Longhorns have outscored their opponents 103-19. With their home runs this evening, Bennett and Craig are tied in the Texas record books at sixth for career home runs.
“I think it is exciting,” Bennett said of all the recognition she, as well as the team, has earned. “But more importantly, it is about getting the job done.”
Printed on Thursday, March 1, 2012 as: Texas takes doubleheader from Bobcats