Texas’ pitching staff saved the game against BYU on Saturday after head coach Mike White emphasized the need to improve in the circle.
The Longhorns completed their second day of the Tennessee Invitational by shutting out the Cougars, 3-0, in seven innings.
Friday’s loss to No. 6 Tennessee revealed a need for more consistency in the circle. Saturday’s performance saw just that.
“I just thought it was a great performance by Brooke Bolinger,” White said. “We really needed one of our pitchers to pick us up, and I thought she did an excellent job today … I thought she came out at the ball really well, so it was good to see.”
Bolinger had 10 strikeouts in five innings while improving to 6–2 overall. The Cougars were unable to get a hit off of the lefty pitcher until the fifth inning, when BYU shortstop Marissa Chavez hit a double into the right center gap.
The hit didn’t phase Bolinger as she secured her 10th strikeout of the game against the next batter.
The pitching success continued as Miranda Elish relieved Bolinger in the sixth inning. Elish got the Longhorns out of a loaded-base situation when the Cougars capitalized on a Texas fielding error and failed to pull through as Elish produced an inning-ending groundout to second.
The junior allowed no hits from BYU in the final inning of the game, securing her second save of the 2019 season.
“Coach White always talks about playing a faceless opponent and competing against ourselves and our standard,” Elish said during the Sun Devil Classic.
This is something the Longhorns will continue to do this season, especially as they see tougher competition.
For Texas, this tournament’s game preparation seems to be a little more adventurous and less conventional when it comes to athletic competition.
“We’re going to do a team building exercise tonight. We’re gonna do one of those escape rooms. So we’ll see what happens. We’ll see if I can escape,” White said with a laugh.
Mental strength has been an important aspect of this team’s ability to compete. It’s been said by both the Texas coaches and players that their team chemistry is something they try to work on each week in order to come out and play as a unit.
Texas will see Tennessee one more time in its last game of the invitational at 12 p.m. Sunday.