Horns swing big in championship with hits from all eight starters

Chris Hummer

The Longhorn offense exploded for 14 runs on 15 hits in the Texas Classic championship game Sunday in a 14-4 mercy-rule shortened win against the Louisville Cardinals.

Each Longhorn in the starting lineup had a hit, led by Taylor Hoagland, Lexy Bennett, Nadia Taylor and Amy Hooks who combined to go 8-11 with eight RBIs and two home runs.

Louisville finished second in the tournament, Tulsa third and Northern Illinois fourth.

“I think it was a great start to our season,” Hoagland said. “Our team intensity was up, and I think it’s going to be a good year for us. I think our offense was impeccable this weekend. Our defense did well, and we have some things to work on, but our offense definitely shined through this weekend.”

All of the Longhorns’ scoring came in the first two innings where they jumped on Louisville starter Chelsea Leonard for five runs in the first.
“It sets the tone. If you can lead off the game with a home run or a runner on base, it sets you up. That puts the momentum on our back to continue to push forward,” Taylor said.

In the second inning, Texas continued its scoring barrage with nine more runs, sending 11 batters to the plate capped off by a grand slam by Hoagland.

The team’s offensive performance helped pitcher Blaire Luna, who allowed four runs in completing her third game of the weekend.
“The offense playing as well as it did relieves stress for her and gives her a cushion, allowing her to work through things and grind through stuff,” Hoagland said.

Only one more run was scored during the rest of the game.

The win over the Cardinals gave Texas a 5-0 start and a victory in their first tournament of the season. Giving the team something to build on, and momentum for the rest of the year.

“It was a good weekend all the way around. This group is obviously very focused on finishing. We’ll talk a lot about that through the year, so it’s good to be able to talk about that today and get the outcome,” Texas coach Connie Clark said.