On an evening when it appeared pitcher Miranda Elish would have to pitch another shutout for the Longhorns to have a chance to survive the Austin Regional, outfielder Kaitlyn Washington provided some much-needed run support.
Pitching her fourth game in just two days and throwing more than 400 pitches in the opening round, Elish was determined to not let the Texas heat derail her from sending the Longhorns to their first super regional since 2013 with a 7-0 win over Houston.
Houston had Presley Bell in the circle, who dealt an equally impressive game for the Cougars. Bell kept Texas at bay until Washington blasted a solo home run to center field in the fifth inning to give Texas a slim one-run lead.
“I felt all of that (pitch),” Washington said in a postgame radio interview with 105.3. “I knew I barreled that ball. I was ready for it.”
Through the first six innings, it looked as though a one-run advantage would be all Elish needed to secure her fourth elimination game win in this season’s regional and send the Longhorns to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. But Washington provided Texas with added insurance, hitting an RBI single in the seventh inning.
“I was looking for anything I could get just to get a base hit and lift it past the infield,” Washington said.
Soon after, Elish called her own number from the plate with an insurance double of her own to extend the Longhorns’ lead to 4-0 before an avalanche from Texas’ offense stretched the lead to seven.
Half an inning later, Elish concluded a weekend of dominance with a strikeout and a powerful scream, letting Longhorn fans know the team is back in a super regional.
While the Longhorns celebrated their regional victory, five games in three days still take a toll.
“Right now we’re feeling great and energized,” Washington said. “I know our bodies are going to be sore, so we definitely need to get the recovery going, but we’re excited.”
Ninth-ranked Texas will now travel to Tuscaloosa for a super regional against No. 8 Alabama.