The Citrus Classic featured some of the best competition head coach Connie Clark’s team had seen yet — and they handled them.
But Texas struggled against the weaker teams.
At the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Fla., the No. 5 Longhorns’ picked up signature wins over No. 15 Louisville, 2-0 and over No. 13 Louisiana-Lafayette, 7-2.
A 7-2 loss against Hofstra (4-8), a 9-7 loss to Fordham (6-9) and a 2-1, come-from-behind win over Syracuse (5-8) didn’t reflect Texas’ high ranking and impressive record.
However, the tournament did help clear up how deep the Longhorns’ rotation is. While it has been known that Blaire Luna (9-0) is the ace of the staff, the No. 2 spot has been up for grabs in the early season. But with a stellar 14-strikeout performance against Syracuse, senior Kim Bruins (5-0) appears to have locked up the spot.
“Kim Bruins competes so well,” Clark said of Bruins, who is 5-0 this year. “I liked her performance overall. She had good command. She got stronger as the game went on. In a tight ballgame like tonight, it’s nice to have her out there.”
While Luna, who pitched a shutout and another complete game against two Top 15 teams, and Bruins looked stellar, the other two pitchers struggled. Freshman Holly Kern took two more losses and now accounts for all three of Texas’ losses this season while Gabby Smith struggled in her lone outing, giving up four runs in just 0.2 innings in the defeat to Fordham.
Offensively, the Longhorns scored seven runs three times and two runs twice with a mixture of the long ball and small ball. Taylor Thom, Bruins, and Mandy Ogle combined for back-to-back-to-back homers in the third inning of their win over Louisiana-Lafayette. Taylor Hoagland also hit a homer against Fordham to move into a tie for fifth on the Big 12 all-time home run list.
Small ball was provided against Syracuse as Brejae Washington and Smith hit RBI sacrifice flies in the top of the seventh to come back and beat Syracuse.
The Longhorns return to Red and Charline McCombs Field on Wednesday for a doubleheader against Louisiana-Lafayette.
Published on March 4, 2013 as "Luna, Bruins carry Longhorns".