Undefeated No. 6 softball faces Houston Baptist


Shelby Tauber

Junior short stop Taylor Thom completed four home runs against Houston, including two grand slams.  Thom was awarded Big 12 Conference Player of the Week after capping off a week of shining performances.

Jori Epstein

After traveling to Houston for the Hilton Houston Plaza Invitational last weekend, the No. 6 Longhorns now welcome their southern neighbors at home. Facing Houston Baptist (4-0) on Wednesday, Texas hopes to notch another W for its 11-0 opening streak, tied for second best in program history. Texas has never played Houston Baptist before, but it holds a 51-7 record against current Southland Conference members and a .800 winning percentage against Texas foes since 1997.

Entering game 12, Texas posts a .350 batting average with 90 runs (8.2 per game). The offense has also collected 13 home runs and 34 stolen bases, as seasoned hitters like shortstop Taylor Thom fuel the energy. Thom was named Big 12 Conference Player of the Week on Tuesday, after performances including Saturday’s win against Houston, when she finished with four home runs, two grand slams and 13 RBI. Thom broke the Texas RBI record, previously at eight per contest, and became the fourth player in NCAA history to hit two grand slams in a game.

“What a great night — [Taylor Thom] has really been working on some things and she saw the ball exceptionally well tonight,” head coach Connie Clark said Saturday. “We were very patient and we were able to draw some walks and get the table set for her. Taylor came up big and I’m very excited to see her
get results.”

Third baseman Taylor Hoagland, who scored her own three-run homer in the game, attributed Thom’s performance to a table set even earlier.

“Everyone was making jokes about what she had for lunch,” Hoagland said. “We needed some of that, too. It was amazing.”

Freshman second baseman Stephanie Ceo rounds out the offensive threat from the newcomers, currently leading the Big 12 Conference with a .591 batting average (13-for-22). She also set the Texas record for consecutive games with a hit to open a career with seven.

Pitching staff Blaire Luna, Kim Bruins, Gabby Smith and Holly Kern continue to stump opponents combining for just 33 hits, seven runs and 19 walks this season. Texas’s 0.79 ERA is the best in the conference.

Wednesday’s game begins at 4:30 p.m. on the Red & Charline McCombs Field.

Published on February 20, 2013 as "High hopes for perfect-record Horns".