Longhorns sweep Texas Tech to stay perfect in Big 12 play

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Photo Credit: Brooke Crim | Daily Texan Staff

It wasn’t an ideal start for Longhorns early on Sunday morning.

Trailing by two runs heading into the bottom of the third inning, Texas didn’t look anything like its dominant self from its first two wins over Texas Tech.

“Coming into an early start on Sunday, it’s not easy,” Texas head coach Connie Clark said. “The coaches got on them a little bit about effort.”

But the Longhorns quickly shrugged off their early morning woes, responding with six consecutive runs en route to a 6-2 victory over the Red Raiders at McCombs Field. Texas (26–15) moved to 9–0 in Big 12 play for the second time in program history.

“It’s always good to sweep, especially coming into an early start on Sunday,” Clark said. “I instinctively saw them (respond), and you could see it in their body language to put (the rough start) behind them and move forward.”

Redshirt junior pitcher Erica Wright forfeited only two runs on five hits while striking out five Texas Tech hitters in a complete game performance, good enough for her fourth victory of the season.

“We came out and had the plan to work the outside corner and (Wright’s) best pitch, the rise (ball),” sophomore catcher Taylor Ellsworth said. “We were able to mix speeds well, and she trusts me and I trust her.”

Texas’ rough start began quickly after the 11 a.m. first pitch, in the first inning after a misplayed ball by junior right fielder Bekah Alcozer allowed the Red Raiders to grab an early 1-0 lead — their first lead of the entire series.

Junior first baseman Jessica Hartwell added another run to the Texas Tech lead in the third, hammering a hanging breaking ball from Wright for a solo home run and the two-run advantage.

In need of a response to the early deficit, junior center fielder Ki’Audra Hayter came up big for the Texas offense with an infield hit that resulted in her reaching base on a throwing error.

Senior designated player Paige von Sprecken and sophomore left fielder Kaitlyn Washington capitalized from there, lacing back-to-back doubles to left field to tie the game at 2-2.

An inning later, freshman second baseman Janae Jefferson claimed the Longhorns’ first lead of the game. The Humble, Texas, native sent a ball through the left side of the infield for an RBI single and the 3-2 lead.

Following a pair of scoreless innings from Wright, the Texas offense opened the floodgates in the sixth.

Von Sprecken doubled home her second RBI of the day, and Ellsworth sent a RBI double down the right-field line just two batters later to make it a 6-2 game.

Wright sat down the final three Texas Tech hitters to finalize her complete game and the victory.

“(The win) helps with our momentum and our confidence coming into Tuesday afternoon against Baylor,” Wright said.

Wright’s complete game was the third consecutive effort of the weekend after von Sprecken and junior pitcher Brooke Bolinger both recorded complete games in victories on Friday and Saturday.

In those two games, the Longhorns outscored the Red Raiders by an 8-2 margin and outhit them 15-7.

The Longhorns return to action when they seek to extend their undefeated conference record as they host No. 16 Baylor on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.