Horns beat Nebraksa on late inning steal of home

Chris Hummer

The fifth-ranked Longhorns traveled to Lincoln to play at Nebraska for the last time as a conference opponent, as the Huskers exit the Big 12 to head to the Big Ten after this season. Texas provided a rude going-away gift in the form of two late-inning, one-run victories over the weekend, including Sunday’s exciting 4-3 win in which senior catcher Amy Hooks scored the go-ahead run by stealing home.

Texas went into the seventh inning of Sunday’s game down two runs to the 12th-ranked Cornhuskers but was able to battle back and tie the score at 3-3, thanks to a two-run homer off the bat of sophomore Taylor Hoagland.

After Nebraska failed to finish off the Longhorns in the bottom of the seventh, the game went into extra innings.

Hooks started off the top of the eighth with a double into the left-field corner, then junior Nadia Taylor drew a walk. Torie Schmidt was called out after that, but then freshman Mandy Ogle was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

With her teammates at first, second and third and one out, senior Raygan Feight came up to the plate and was given the sign for a suicide squeeze, an offensive play where the batter bunts toward first base expecting to be thrown out and the player on third leaves the base early trying to score.

Feight botched the squeeze, missing the pitch, but Hooks was still headed for home on the play, and thanks to some crafty base running, she was able to score and put Texas ahead by one.

Then Blaire Luna was able to sew up the victory for Texas with a scoreless bottom of the eighth inning. Luna threw 5.2 innings of no-run relief after freshman Rachel Fox struggled early, allowing four runs in 2.1 innings of work.

In the first game of the weekend series on Saturday, the Longhorns were locked in a 0-0 pitcher’s duel as they headed into the seventh inning. Texas had only mustered one hit up to that point in the game, in the form of a Hooks single, and it was Hooks who once again stepped up in the seventh, this time in the form of a solo home run over the center-field wall.

The homer was more than enough support for Luna, Saturday’s starter, who went out in the seventh inning and shut Nebraska down. Luna delivered the one-run victory in her 11th shutout of the season, only surrendering two hits and three walks and striking out eight.

The pair of victories moves Texas to 34-3 on the season and 7-0 in Big 12 play, and it will look to continue its 18-game win streak on Wednesday against Stephen F. Austin.