It was one of the quieter victories at Red and Charline McCombs field Wednesday night as Texas shut out Texas Southern 5-0.
“At five o’clock mid-week non-conference, people are getting off of work,” head coach Connie Clark said. “It’s tough to feed off any energy in the stadium because there’s not a lot of people in the stands yet. But you have to always remember maybe that one fan or that one kid that shows up and it might be the only opportunity they see Texas softball play. What impression do you want to leave?”
Most of the energy came from the first two rows of the bleachers, and the Longhorns had them jumping with excitement early.
In the first inning, freshman outfielder Kaitlyn Washington reached first on a fielder’s choice and advanced on a wild pitch. A single by senior third baseman Celina Felix and a sac fly by freshman catcher Taylor Ellsworth brought Washington home for a 1-0 score. Felix reached home on a throwing error to make the game 2-0.
Ellsworth started a doubles trend with a fence-hit to left center in the third inning. Sophomore Bekah Alcozer came in as pinch runner, rounding the bases for a 3-0 score on a double by junior catcher Randel Leahy. Senior Kelli Hanzel doubled to left center for RBI to extend the Longhorn’s lead to 4-0.
In the fifth inning, Texas would score its final run on a walk by Alcozer and a single coupled with a fielding error by Paige von Sprecken.
All five Texas pitchers had time at the circle.
Standing out was sophomore Erica Wright, who continued to dominate as a starter. In 48 innings, Wright has only allowed 17 hits, including three complete-game one-hitters. In her one inning of work, Wright had two strikeouts and no hits.
“She is somebody who wants the ball in her hand in the biggest opportunities and that’s something I wish I could teach, but that’s not typically something you teach,” Clark said.
Senior Tiarra Davis and junior Kristen Clark followed, each getting one inning of work for a combined two hits and one walk.
Von Sprecken and sophomore Brooke Bolinger finished the game for the Longhorns at the circle with one hit and one walk in four innings.
When the final fly ball from Texas Southern was caught, the two bleachers roared with cheers. Texas will have a bigger crowd for the Iowa State series this weekend, and will look for their fifth consecutive victory.
“It’s about us.” Clark said.