Softball sweeps Kansas to stay perfect in conference


Sam Ortega

Taylor Hoagland hits a grand slam against Kansas in game one of Texas’ series sweep over the weekend. 

Evan Berkowitz

No. 8 Texas swept Kansas (21-10) with two wins on Friday to improve to 5-0 in Big 12 play and 32-4 overall.

Despite coming into the series owning the nation’s best batting average (.384), Kansas could only muster nine hits in 75 at-bats against the 12th best pitching team in the nation. Against Player of the Year candidate Blaire Luna, the potent Jayhawks offense could only tally four hits in 13 innings.

For the first time this year, the Big 12 got a look at just how good the Jayhawks are. Even though they are vastly improved from their second-to-last place finish in last year’s Big 12 standings, they still may not be ready to compete for a conference title.

In the first game Friday, Gabby Smith got the start and struggled early, allowing three runs in two innings, helping Kansas get out to a 3-0 lead. But freshman Holly Kern (6-3) then came in and silenced the Jayhawk bats, allowing just one hit and one run in her third straight victory.

After cutting the deficit to one with two runs in the fourth, the Longhorns exploded for 14 runs in the top of the sixth, the highest-scoring inning in the program’s history. Taylor Hoagland, after walking in her previous eight plate appearances, delivered a tie-breaking grand slam. And by the time the inning was over, Texas was looking at a 16-4 lead.

The 16 runs were the most ever for the Longhorns in a conference game.

In the second game, Luna (17-1) went the distance. She allowed two hits and two earned runs en route to a 5-4 win. Marlee Gabaldon recorded the game-winning RBI with a double in the fourth.

The Longhorns will return to action Tuesday for a non-conference double header against McNeese State.