Heading into a three-day tournament weekend, the Longhorns emphasized the importance of two things: Bring high energy and remain consistent, every night.
This weekend, they struggled to do just that.
On Sunday afternoon, the Longhorns (6–8) dropped their final contest of the Texas Invitational to No. 20 Michigan in the form of a 4-0 loss, finishing the weekend at 2–3.
“We’ve got to stay really positive with this young group and know that we have some ways we need to continue to learn and grow,” head coach Connie Clark said. “I did see some very good things as well, so I told them to pull the good things, whether it’s just competing or actually making mechanical adjustments.”
Momentum shifted Michigan’s way in the second inning thanks to a four-run rally. After a pair of singles and a hit-by-pitch, senior pitcher Paige von Sprecken walked in the Wolverines’ first run of the game on a 3-2 count.
Michigan quickly added to their lead on the next hitter, as junior second baseman Faith Canfield grounded into a fielder’s choice at second, advancing another Michigan runner home.
With two outs, Michigan junior center fielder Natalie Peters stepped to the plate and looped a single just off the glove of Texas sophomore shortstop Kaitlyn Slack, giving the Wolverines a 4-0 lead in the top of the frame.
Freshman starting pitcher Meghan Beaubien made easy work of the Longhorns lineup for the majority of the contest, only allowing one base runner until the fifth inning.
The Texas offense finally had a semblance of a pulse in the fifth inning after freshman MK Tedder drew a walk and Slack poked a single to right field to start the frame. However, the Longhorns failed to take advantage of the opportunity, stranding two base runners at the corners to end the inning.
Following a scoreless inning from von Sprecken, the Longhorns offense searched for runs again in the bottom of the sixth when junior right fielder Ki’Audra Hayter and sophomore catcher Taylor Ellsworth reached base on a pair of infield singles.
But Beaubien rebounded strongly, striking out the next two Texas hitters to retire the side.
Beaubien came back out to the pitcher’s circle in the bottom of the seventh and dispatched the final three Longhorns hitters, finishing a complete game shutout.
“We had some really good hits today, and I think we were seeing the ball pretty well, but it just wasn’t happening for us today and that happens sometimes,” sophomore outfielder Tuesday DerMargosian said.
While the Longhorns dropped their contest against the Wolverines on Sunday afternoon, they did defeat Michigan to the tune of a 3-0 shutout Friday afternoon.
Junior starting pitcher Brooke Bolinger silenced the Michigan bats during the effort, allowing five hits and throwing seven strikeouts in the complete game shutout.
Texas, however, was unable to match its winning efforts in the nightcap of a doubleheader against Wichita State, in its first loss of the tournament, 7-5.
Saturday also featured mixed results for the Longhorns, as Texas beat Virginia Tech but failed to close out No. 21 Ohio State in a 8-5 loss.
The Longhorns return to action Wednesday in a home matchup against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
“We knew coming into the season that this was a young squad, and it’s going to be a teaching moment daily,” Clark said. “We need to stay positive and keep getting better.”