She didn’t have her best stuff, pitches inside and out were being called balls, and Oklahoma was being extremely patient at the plate. But all-American Blaire Luna still managed to come through. Luna allowed three runs in her 25th complete game of the year but did enough to help her team come out on top Sunday.
Luna came into the game following one of her worst outings of the year, when she allowed five runs to a potent Oklahoma squad Saturday. Those five runs were more than she had given up in the last eight games combined.
Unfortunately for Luna, the same Sooner squad was there in the batter’s box the next day, and things were not any easier the second time she faced them.
Luna quickly fell behind to Oklahoma for the second day in a row, giving up a pair of singles in the first as the Sooners drew first blood. But unlike the day before, Luna and the team were able to battle back.
“We were better confidence wise,” Luna said. “I feel like yesterday after the first run was scored, we were a little defeated, but today, we didn’t give up.”
She settled down in the second and got out of the inning without a scratch. But then, in the following two innings, the Sooners managed to tack runs on the board by using small balls and walks.
After that, Luna worked through the rest of the game without allowing another runner to cross home, leading the Longhorns to a comeback victory over their rivals. Luna wasn’t flawless, as she allowed a runner to reach base in almost every inning of the game, a rarity for her.
“It was definitely one of the most stressful games I’ve ever pitched,” Luna said. “Oklahoma did a great job, their pitchers and their hitters, and I’m just really glad we split with them.”
Perhaps the biggest teller of Luna’s struggles was her lack of strikeouts. She is normally in double digits in that category, but on Sunday she only managed to fan two batters, forcing her to rely on the defense to make the plays behind her.
At the very least, Luna found out that she does not need to strike out every batter to be successful. Instead, she can just watch one of the best defenses in the country make the plays, for the same end result.
“She learned trust. You don’t have to have 10 strikeouts every time if you trust that defense and those hitters who are in the foxhole with you,” said Texas head coach Connie Clark. “She doesn’t have to be the dominator every time.”