Softball looks to continue hot stretch in Judi Garman Classic

Jacob Martella

In between the Louisiana Classic at the beginning of the season and the Texas Invitational this past weekend, the Longhorns offense struggled with consistency, scoring six or fewer runs in eight games.

But this past weekend, the Longhorns averaged just more than eight runs per game and run-ruled their opponents in four of the five matchups.

Now the trick for Texas will be repeating that performance against tougher teams in the Judi Garman Classic this weekend.

One of the biggest improvements the Longhorns made over the weekend was driving in runners. Texas had left an average of eight runners per game on base coming into the tournament, but, in the last five games, the Longhorns left just more than six runners on base.

“[In practice] we really focused on any time someone came up to the plate,” head coach Connie Clark said. “Bases were loaded or runners were at second and third to simulate that we need to push runs across.”

Sophomore utility Lindsey Stephens has led the charge for the Texas offense with 34 RBIs and seven home runs. In the Texas Invitational, Stephens finished the tournament with 10 RBIs, which helped her earn Big 12 Player of the Week.

“I’m just trying to enjoy the game and play and not get consumed with the numbers,” Stephens said.

The increased offense has helped the Longhorns’ pitching staff.

“It takes a lot of pressure off of us as pitchers,” junior pitcher Gabby Smith said. “It’s a confidence boost.”

The Judi Garman Classic will present a much tougher challenge for the Longhorns. After facing Houston on Thursday, Texas will play No. 10 Arizona State, No. 6 Washington and No. 5 Michigan, as well as Long Beach State.

“We have to focus on us and what we’re doing,” Smith said.