Record-setting Hoagland leads team into Louisiana

Sara Beth Purdy

Taylor Hoagland, a sophomore right fielder from Flower Mound, Texas, rewrote the Big 12 record books last weekend. During the Cathedral City Classic in Southern California, she broke the record for longest hitting streak previously held by Nebraska’s Anne Steffan at 25 games. Hoagland’s single against the Long Island Blackbirds brought her hitting streak to 25 games and another single versus the Loyola Marymount Lions that same day set the new bar at 26.

“It’s a great accomplishment,” said teammate Nadia Taylor. “Anything you can break in the Big 12 sounds of a great player.”

It’s not common for a hitter to have a batting average at .481, but Hoagland makes it look easy and many fans have come to expect something spectacular each time she steps into the batter’s box.

“I’ve been working through some things this season,” Hoagland said. “It may look natural, but there’s a lot of work that gets put into it.”
The new record for this versatile hitter doesn’t really surprise head coach Connie Clark. Out of 74 career collegiate games, Hoagland has produced a hit in 63 of them.

“There was a bit of excitement and sense of relief when she got over on first base and broke the record,” Clark said. “We’re excited for her. She’s just an amazing athlete and an amazing package. She’s a great student and a super young lady. I couldn’t be any more excited for someone to represent that record tremendously well.”

The Longhorns as a whole are aware of her success and have even gone so far as to make a game out of it. During batting practice down time, the team tries to see how far Hoagland can hit. The rumor going around the dugout is that one shot found its way into the back parking lot at McCombs Field, a distance of around 500 feet.

“It’s just having fun really,” Hoagland admitted. “It’s nice to know you can both launch a ball 500 feet and drop a bunt.”

Unfortunately, Hoagland’s streak ended at 26 when she wasn’t able to register a hit during the game against Massachusetts that same weekend. However, there are still many games left in the season, and though it may not be her primary agenda, it’s constantly in the back of her mind.

“The record is great,” Hoagland said. “But you just got to keep going on. It never stops, and when it does, you just got to get back on the horse and get back to it.”

The Longhorns will be spending Mardi Gras weekend in Baton Rouge, where they will face LSU, Hofstra and Pittsburgh at the LSU Purple and Gold Challenge that begins Friday afternoon. Louisiana State is the only one of those teams in the top 25 at No. 21 with a record of 12-5.
“We’re going to see some pretty good competition in Louisiana,” Hoagland said. “We’re excited about that.”