Texas left its offensive momentum behind in the first game of the Longhorn Invitational at Red & Charline McCombs Field.
The Longhorns saw their fourth loss of the season against the Minnesota Gophers after defeating Texas Southern University 8-0 in a five-inning run rule victory.
The Gophers were able to score a run off of an RBI in the first inning and Texas trailed 1-0 up until the seventh inning when Minnesota collected three unearned runs, giving Texas little time for a comeback.
“Today we got outplayed,” head coach Mike White said. “They played better defensively, pitched better, and hit better ... The most important thing is how we bounce back tomorrow ... It's a good wake up call ... for us and hopefully we’ll bounce back the right way.”
Pitcher Miranda Elish, a player who is normally dominant in the circle, pitched against the Golden Gophers and gave up five walks — another aspect of the game White said he wants to improve on.
“One (improvement) is not so many walks,” White said. “We got to attack them and make them swing the bats a little bit … We have to get after pitches early in the count, we can’t let them get too deep on us.”
Elish had 12 strikeouts against the Golden Gophers and scored Texas’ only run in the seventh inning. Although her final run got the crowd to go wild and put the idea of comeback in the air, it wasn’t enough to attain a win.
“I would rather lose every single game now, make it to the world series and win a national championship,” Elish said. “But we’re learning from every loss, we’re learning from every win, you just gotta keep going forward. Coach Spencer always says, as long as you’re going up, there’s going to bumps along the way, but as long as you are going up then we’re doing what we need to do.”
White seemed to agree with this statement, explaining that playing Minnesota would be a good indicator of that they will see in the Big 12. He emphasized that most teams in the future are going to be used to strong play, and that’s exactly what Minnesota brought to the table.
“That’s a lot better pitching staff out there, if you look at who Minnesota's been playing and some of the tough luck results they've had,” White said. “They've been right there with a lot of really good teams in the country … We weren't any surprise for them and tomorrow we’re gonna have to come out in the strike zone a lot better. We had five walks today, we have stop doing that and giving them the free passes.”
The Longhorns’ loss to Minnesota ended their 13-game winning streak at home, but it wasn’t without a few clutch plays, namely by red shirt junior Reagan Hathaway. In a defensive save, Hathaway ended the fifth inning for Minnesota with a diving catch in the outfield, giving Elish a 1-2-3 against the Golden Gophers.
“It felt really good, it felt really clean,” Hathway said. “It feels good to make the catch but it feels good to do it for your pitcher and for your defense and for your whole team, to fire them up … I wish it would have propelled us forward to get a run, but you still got to make the plays anyways.”
Texas will see Texas Southern and Minnesota again tomorrow at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., respectively.